After missing the 2020-21 season with an undisclosed illness, Jonathan Toews announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning that he is back in Chicago and skating, with plans to return for next season.
"It feels great," Toews told Blackhawks TV. "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, so it's definitely nice to be back in Chicago and see some of the guys again, and slowly but surely settle into the life and to the routine again, so it's a good feeling right now."
Toews revealed he had been dealing with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, which was the reason for his lengthy absence.
"I just think a lot of things piled up where my body just kind of fell apart, so what they're calling it is 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, it was always kind of a stress response, so I took some time [off]," Toews said. "And that was the frustrating part, was not really knowing when or how we were going to get over the hump, but thankfully we've got a great support team of people that helped me through it and learned a lot about the stress that I put on my body over the years.
"I appreciate all the support. A lot of people were worried and definitely felt bad to a certain degree that people were that, where they thought it was really serious but in the back of my mind, I knew I could get through it, it was just a matter of time."
Given the uncertainty all season, it's great news for Chicago that Toews is feeling healthy and ready to go again as the Blackhawks look to take the next step as a team with their captain back in the mix.
"I wasn't too vocal through this year and definitely want to thank the fans, my teammates, the organization, Rocky [Wirtz], Stan [Bowman], Jeremy [Colliton, everybody," Toews said. "And the fans especially. I talked about the things you appreciate and things that you maybe take for granted, but I think the No. 1 thing is I've had so many people across the hockey world, fans and people, that have shown their support, and I think that's the biggest thing, is you realize that there's more to life than hockey, 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."