Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews reveals illness that kept him out for 2021 season

Sports

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 16: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks on while playing against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of Game Four of the Western Conference First Round of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff at Rogers Place on August 16, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has revealed a diagnosis that has kept him out for the 2021 season.

Before the season started, Toews announced that he was going to miss at least part of the season with an undisclosed illness. He ended up missing the entire campaign — the first time he’d done so since making his debut for the Blackhawks in 2007.

On Wednesday, he revealed what he’d been dealing with in a video posted on Twitter where he revealed that he was diagnosed with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome.

The video shows him returning to the Fifth Third Arena to do some work at the team’s practice facility. It’s the first time he’s been working out there since the pre-Edmonton bubble training camp in the summer of 2020.

“I just think there’s a lot of things that just piled up where my body just fell apart,” he says in the video.

He said he had difficulty recovering and that his body was reacting to daily stress, requiring the rest he got while taking the season off.

Toews thanked fans for their support as he heard their concerns over his condition over the past seven months.

“I defintely felt bad to a certain degree that people were that worried that they thought it was really serious, but in the back of the mind, I knew I’d get through it. It was just a matter of time,” he said.

This is the first time fans have heard from Toews since March, when he made his one and only appearance on a Twitter video to congratulate teammate Patrick Kane for his 1,000 NHL game on March 9.

While not officially confirming it, Toews hinted in the video that he’ll be ready to go for the Blackhawks’ 2021-2022 season, his 14th in the NHL. The forward has won three Stanley Cups with the franchise, scoring 345 goals while giving out 470 assists.

“I’m excited to get back to the United Center and play,” he said. “Just go out there and have fun and I think my best is going to come through, and excited to get back in front of the fans.”

This announcement from Toews comes at a difficult point for the franchise, which is facing two lawsuits for their handling of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Alrich during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup title in 2010.

Due to this, the team has hired the law firm of Jenner & Block LLP to conduct an investigation into the team’s handling of the claims 11 years ago.

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