Kristen ShiltonESPN NHL ReporterRead in 2 minutes
Jonathan Toos says he plans to step away from hockey, but it won’t be permanent.
The former Chicago Blackhawks captain and now an unrestricted free agent said in a social media post on Thursday that while he was “not completely retired” from the NHL, he was “not ready to play again this season. I’m leaving,” he announced.
“I can’t deny my love for the game of hockey and am passionate about playing at my highest level,” Touz wrote on Instagram. “But given my health challenges, the last few seasons have been very difficult. My focus is on giving myself the time and space to fully heal and enjoy life to the fullest again. .”
The 35-year-old Touz scored 15 and 31 goals in just 53 appearances last season after declining health midway through the season. At the time, Touz said he had “no choice but to step back and focus on getting healthy” for the final season of his eight-year, $84 million contract.
That raises questions about Toews’ future in Chicago, or elsewhere, in upcoming seasons. Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has confirmed that Touse’s contract will not be renewed immediately after Chicago’s season ended in April, making him a UFA on July 1.
Towes spent all 15 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks after being drafted 3rd overall in 2006. He captained the team from 2008 to 2023 and helped the team win three Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He scored 372 goals and scored 883 goals in 1067 games in his career.
He was still one of the league’s best centers when Chicago announced in late December 2020 that the captain would be out indefinitely to deal with an undisclosed illness. After all, Touz missed all the games of the 2020-21 season, which was shortened due to the influence of the new coronavirus, but in June 2021, he was diagnosed with chronic immune response syndrome and announced that he would return to the 2021-22 season.
Subsequent antibody tests also revealed that Touz temporarily had the new coronavirus. That would later lead him to be blunted by prolonged Covid-19 symptoms.
“In the process, I have met several people suffering from long-term COVID-19 related health problems and other very complex cases,” Touz said in the post. Ta. “I now realize the importance of sharing the details of my health journey with you someday.”
Tooze took to social media again earlier Thursday to thank the Blackhawks for their organization and fan support over the years with the team.
“It’s hard to find words to describe the 16-year journey that made this city my home,” Touz said. “…to see the resurgence of hockey in Chicago and to be a part of it was incredible.
“I just want to say thank you to all of you. You made my time in Chicago unforgettable.”