'My body just fell apart': Blackhawks' Toews announces his return for the coming season

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who missed all of last season, said Wednesday he is back. He said he had been battling chronic immune response syndrome.

    Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who missed all of last season, said Wednesday he is back. He said he had been battling chronic immune response syndrome. Associated Press

  • Jonathan Toews said Wednesday, "I'm excited to get back to the United Center and play, get back in front of the fans, and have fun."

    Jonathan Toews said Wednesday, "I'm excited to get back to the United Center and play, get back in front of the fans, and have fun." John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/30/2021 1:44 PM

Worry -- and wonder -- no longer, says Captain Serious.

Jonathan Toews is in Chicago, feeling good, and can't wait to step on the United Center ice.

 

The Blackhawks captain, who sat out last season, announced Wednesday he's back.

"I just think there's a lot of things that kind of piled up where my body just fell apart. What they're calling it is chronic immune response syndrome where I couldn't quite recover and my immune system was reacting to everything that I did," Toews, 33, said in a video posted to his Twitter account.

"Any kind of stress, anything I would do throughout the day, it was always kind of a stress response. ... It took some time. That was the frustrating part. ... I learned a lot about the stress I've been putting on my body over the years."

The syndrome, according to multiple medical websites, is "a progressive, multi-system, multi-symptom illness characterized by exposure to biotoxins."

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Toews said the uncertainty of the recovery period was trying, especially "not knowing when or how we were going to get over the hump.

"In the back of my mind I knew I'd get through it. It was just a matter of time."

In the video Toews is seen entering the Blackhawks' training facility and later skating and practicing. It is not known when the video was shot.

"It feels great (to be back). It's been a long time. Honestly, I haven't taken this much time off the ice probably ever ... since I was a kid, at least.

"It's nice to be back in Chicago. See some of the guys. ... Slowly but surely settle back into the life and the routine again," Toews said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Blackhawks announced in late December Toews would not be joining the team for training camp, and would be out indefinitely for the 2020-21 season with a medical issue.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion said at the time he had an unspecified medical issue leaving him "drained and lethargic."

"I wasn't too vocal about the things I went through this year. I appreciate the understanding and support," Toews said.

"A lot of people were worried. The No. 1 think is I've had so many people across the hockey world and fans ... that have shown their support. I think that's the biggest thing is you realize there's more to life than hockey."

The Winnipeg native has played in 943 regular season games with 345 goals and 470 assists. He has 45 goals and 74 assists in 137 playoff games.

Toews was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, and has played since 2007 and been captain since 2008. The Stanley Cup champ in 2010, 2013 and 2015 won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP in 2010.

Toews won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward for the 2012-13 season, and earned the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2015.

Toews is looking forward to the new season.

"I'm excited to get back to the United Center and play, get back in front of the fans, and go out there and have fun," he said.

"I think my best is going to come through."

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