Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews reveals battle with chronic immune response syndrome

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AP)

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews revealed Wednesday in a video shared to his social media channels that he missed the entire NHL season with chronic immune response syndrome.

In the video, Toews is shown skating with teammates in Chicago, something he was unable to do at all during the past campaign.

"It feels great, it's been a long time," Toews said in the video. "Honestly, I haven't taken this much time off the ice probably ever, since I was a kid at least, so it's definitely nice to be back in Chicago, see some of the guys again, and slowly and surely settle into the life and routine again."

The Blackhawks announced on Dec. 29 that Toews would be out "indefinitely" with an undisclosed illness, with Toews saying at the time he was feeling "drained and lethargic." Since then, his only public appearance was in a video congratulating teammate Patrick Kane on reaching 1,000 games in March.

Wednesday's video was the first time Toews has discussed his condition publicly, and he described the challenges he faced while battling the issue.

"I just couldn't quite recover and my immune system was reacting to everything that I did, any kind of stress, anything that I would do through the day, just there was always kind of that stress response," Toews said. "It took some time and that was the frustrating part, just not knowing when or how we were going to get over the hump. But thankfully I have a great support team of people that helped me through it."

While not announcing a timeline for his return to game action, Toews said he appreciated everyone's patience while he recovered and that he's looking forward to returning to the ice next season.

"I wasn't too vocal about the things that I went through this year. I definitely want to thank the fans, my teammates, the organization... You talk about the things that you appreciate and the things you maybe take for granted but I think the No. 1 thing is I've had so many people across the hockey world... that have shown their support. And I think that's the biggest thing is you realize there's more to life than hockey," he said.

"But I'm excited to get back to the United Center and play and just go out there and have fun. And I think my best is going to come through and I'm excited to get back in front of the fans."

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