NHL

Jonathan Toews stepping away from hockey, ‘not fully retiring’

By Sports Desk August 17, 2023

Chicago Blackhawks center and longtime captain Jonathan Toews will take next season off for health reasons but is not ready to retire from the NHL.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion announced his future plans on social media Thursday.

Toews, a free agent after spending 16 years with the Blackhawks, missed the entire 2020-21 season with long COVID symptoms and chronic immune response syndrome.

“I’d like to announce that I am not fully retiring, but I am taking time away from the game again this season,” Toews posted on Instagram. “I cannot deny my love for the game of hockey and still feel the passion for competing at my highest level.

“However, these last few seasons have been very difficult considering my health challenges. My focus is to give myself the time and space to fully heal and enjoy life to the fullest once again.”

Toews played 53 games last season, totaling 15 goals and 16 assists, but has largely kept his medical struggles out of the public eye.

“Along the way I have met several people who have struggled with health issues pertaining to long COVID, chronic immune response syndrome, and other similar cases that are quite complex,” Toews’ post read. “I now recognize the importance of one day sharing the details of my health journey with you all.

“Thank you to all of you who have supported me and respected my privacy in the process.”

Toews captained Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks teams in 2010, 2013 and 2015, winning the Conn Smyth trophy as the playoffs MVP in 2010.

In 1,067 career games, all with Chicago, Toews has tallied 372 goals and 511 assists, in addition to 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists) in 137 career playoff games.

Toews won the Selke Trophy in 2013 as league’s best defensive forward and was twice given the Messier Leadership Award.

Toews is a free agent after completing an eight-year, $84million contract but has previously expressed a desire to play his entire career with the Blackhawks.

“The thought of playing for another team right now is so far in the back of my mind right now, especially after that moment,” Toews said after receiving an emotional ovation from the team’s fans after the season finale. “I always thought I’d retire a Blackhawk and part of me still believes in that, so we’ll see.”

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