In a post on his personal Instagram account on Thursday afternoon, Jonathan Toews has confirmed that he is taking time away from hockey, but is not retiring at the moment.
Toews, 35, is an unrestricted free agent after the Chicago Blackhawks elected to not re-sign the long-time captain.
“I am not fully retiring, but I am taking time away from the game again this season,” Toews said. “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 has not played a full season since 2018-19, and was limited to just 53 games in 2022-23. He missed all of 2020-21 while dealing with health issues, but bounced back to record 37 points in 71 games in 2021-22.
Toews again missed significant time this season amidst rumors he was on the trade block. Toews returned to the lineup after dealing with symptoms of long COVID on April 1.
“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 continued.
“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 is sixth in all-time scoring among Blackhawks with 883 points and fifth in games played at 1,067. He is the longest-serving captain in Blackhawks history, being the only one to hold the honor over a 10-year span.
Toews was integral to the team’s three Stanley Cup championships from 2010 to 15. The 2010 season saw him help Canada win gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics before scoring 29 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs, good to earn him the Conn Smythe Trophy. Toews also joined the Triple Gold Club after winning gold at the 2007 World Junior Championship.