Jonathan Toews returns to Blackhawks, reveals illness that sidelined him for 2021 season

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews announced on Twitter Wednesday that he is back on the ice after missing the previous season due to an undisclosed illness.

The 33-year-old revealed he has been battling Chronic Immune Response Syndrome.

"I just think there's a lot of things I just kind of piled up where my body just fell apart so what they're calling it was Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, where 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 throughout the day there's always that stress response so I took some time off. That was the frustrating part, was not really knowing when or how we were going to get over the hump," Toews said.

Toews said he's enjoying getting back into the flow of things after his season-long absence.


"It feels great. It's been a long time," Toews said. "Honestly, I haven't taken this much time off 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, just slowly, slowly but surely just kind of settle into the life, into the routine again. So it's a good feeling right now."

The Blackhawks finished the pandemic-altered season at 24-25-7 at sixth place in the Central division.

Toews, a Winnipeg native, has played in 943 regular-season and 137 playoff games for the Blackhawks since making his NHL debut. He is under contract for two more seasons and could hit the 1,000-game milestone next season if he’s back on the active roster and playing.

Dubbed "Captain Serious" early in his career, Toews has always been regarded for his leadership skills and two-way play. He won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for the 2012-13 season. He won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.