Former Blackhawks defenseman Tom Reid discusses allergy that ended his career

Former Blackhawks defenseman Tom Reid discusses allergy that ended his career

LAS VEGAS – For Tom Reid, it started with a very small spot on his arm during the 1974-75 season. The former Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars defenseman didn’t think much of it at the time but that small spot would develop into a serious skin condition that would end his career a few seasons later.

Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa announced in a statement on Wednesday morning that, due to severe reactions to medication he’s taking to combat a “progressive skin disorder,” he will miss the 2017-18 season.

It’s a situation that’s very familiar to Reid, whose 11-year NHL career was cut short to a similar problem.

“I played 35 to 36 games that final year because I spent so much time with the doctor,” Reid said. “They though it was a combination of my body type and the heat of my body during playing time. They tried to cool me down, squirt me with water whenever I got off the ice. All that did was add weight to my equipment. In the '77-78 season, the doctors said, ‘We’ve been given you steroids, cortisone, but can’t do it anymore. You’ll be dead by 40.’ So I stepped away.”

How long Hossa has had his disorder, how it started, where it started, is uncertain. Reid said he had absolutely no problems through the first eight seasons of his career until he developed that little spot on his arm – “it was the size of a quarter,” he said. But the spot grew until Reid had a rash from his waist to his neck. Reid added there were other players who had similar allergic reactions.

“Some figured it was the leather in the gloves and skates, but that wasn’t the case with me,” he said. “Mine was in my torso.”

[MORE: Hossa will miss upcoming season with "progressive skin disorder"]

It got to the point where Reid was in the hospital for seven or more days at a time trying to get rid of the rash. Doctors would apply Burow’s solution (a topical skin solution) to Reid every two hours. Reid had to wrap towels around his body to absorb oozing blood that could ruin his clothes. He took his equipment home and cleaned it there, hoping that would make a difference.

Even sleeping got to be incredibly difficult.

“Some nights I couldn’t lay down because on the sheets, just turning was painful. I had to sleep in a straight-back wooden chair with a sheet on me,” Reid recalled. “It was not a lot of fun.”

As of now, Hossa will miss this upcoming season. Whether or not he can return is uncertain at the time. If this is it for Hossa, however, that’s the way it may have to be. As Reid found out himself, health has to come first.

“We all know the end is going to come. Why we step away, there are different reasons. [For me,] the doctors said no more and it was an easy choice because I didn’t want to be dead by the time I was 40,” Reid said. “It’s a hard way to go out. You want to go out on top and it makes it easier when you’ve got your name on the Cup. I’m sure he’d like to continue playing but at some point, you have to say my health is more important than the game.”

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

USA Today

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

For 33 years, Mike Gapski has been the glue of the Blackhawks' support staff. He's the longest-tenured head athletic trainer in the NHL, landing the job in 1987 shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

It's been a dream come true for Gapski to work in his hometown all these years, and on Thursday he is set to be involved in his 2,500th regular season game with the Blackhawks.

Current and former players took the time to congratulate and give thanks to Gapski, and share what he's meant to the Blackhawks:

Kirby Dach:

"It's crazy, you have the same guys in junior, but it's a little bit different level here. These guys take care of us, it's unbelievable the job they do. It's a tremendous accomplishment for Gapper. Couldn't be happier for him. I've only known him for a little bit and he's a really nice guy and helps everybody out and is very kind and caring. And that's what you need in a trainer, somebody who's going to have your best interest at heart. It's good for our group and obviously he's been through a lot with some of the older guys in here. I'm sure it'll be a fun celebration for those guys and for our group as well."

Alex DeBrincat:

"He's great. He's always helping. You try to stay out of the training room, but it's always nice to go in there and talk with those guys. Gapper specifically is a great guy to have around, always fun and lighthearted around there. He obviously knows his stuff, he's been in the league a long time, he's seen a lot of injuries. He's pretty quick to help us out and know what we need to get better."

Steve Konroyd:

"Michael Gapski, congratulations on 2,500 games. You're one of the first guys I ever met when I got traded to the Chicago Blackhawks way back in 1988. You're knowledgeable, you're professional and above all else you're a great guy. I was very proud to have you as a trainer and I think the Blackhawks are very lucky to have you over all these years."

Jamal Mayers:

"Just want to say congratulations to Mike Gapski on 2,500 games. Wow. That's a lot of games, Gapper, congratulations. I know all the players that have ever had you are thankful to have you around. You're a professional, you do things the right way, you really care about the players, it comes across every single day. And thanks for keeping me together when I was 37 and 38 at the end of my career."

Eddie Olczyk:

"Hey Frank, congratulations — 2,500 games standing behind the bench for our Chicago Blackhawks. A tremendous honor, congratulations to you and your family. One thing I love about you, Frank, is you're the same guy today as you were back in the late '90s when we were working together when I was still a player. So congratulations and here's to another 2,500 more."

Patrick Sharp:

"Gapper, Gappity, Frank, Mike Gapski, thank you so much for all the years that you've put in to the Chicago Blackhawks training staff. Countless players have come through the organization, nobody's got a bad thing to say about you. 2,500 games, that's no joke. How about we do another 2,500? Congratulations on all your success. I came to Chicago in 2005 as a young man, spent my whole adult life with having you taking care of me at the rink, so thank you for everything over the years. All the best to you and your family, Frank."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Kris Versteeg recently retired and now the Blackhawks are honoring him with the team’s “One More Shift.”

Versteeg began the season with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, but retired in November after playing six games for the IceHogs this season.

The 33-year-old wrote an emotional letter to the Blackhawks organization after requesting his contract with Rockford be terminated.

Versteeg will be honored before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He will join the team on the ice for the national anthem and highlights of his career will be featured in the United Center.

Versteeg won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, in 2010 and 2015. He is part of the Blackhawks celebrating the 10-year anniversary of that 2010 Cup win. Brian Campbell was given the same treatment on Nov. 21.

The first 10,000 fans into the UC can get replicas of the 2010 ring.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit