Jonathan Toews announces he is ‘taking time away’ from hockey

Former Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has announced that, while he is not fully retiring, he is taking a break from hockey this upcoming season.

In a statement posted to his Instagram page just hours after a heartfelt tribute to the Blackhawks organization and fans, the 35-year-old attributes ongoing health struggles related to long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome as reasons for the absence.

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

Toews missed the entirety of the 2020-2021 season due to chronic health concerns, but ultimately returned to the Blackhawks to captain the original six franchise for the past two seasons.

The Blackhawks and Toews mutually decided to part ways at the end of last season, playing his last game at United Center on April 13. The three-time Stanley Cup Champion remains a free agent and intends to return to the game.

“I cannot deny my love for the game of hockey and still feel the passion for competing at my highest level,” he wrote.

Now without two franchise cornerstones in Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks are in the midst of a rebuild, potentially accelerated by the addition of first-overall pick Connor Bedard.

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