Chicago Blackhawks star forward Marian Hossa has announced that he won’t play the 2017-18 NHL season due to a “progressive skin disorder.”
TV broadcaster Sportsnet is reporting that Hossa’s condition is related to a serious allergic reaction to his hockey equipment. The 38-year-old veteran player noted in his statement that medications to treat the condition were also a concern.
“Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 season,” Hossa wrote in a statement. “While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice.”
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported sources saying that “the medication necessary to combat the allergy is potent enough that doctors wanted his blood tested every few weeks to make sure there were no major side effects.”
Hossa said he’s been privately undergoing treatment for the last few years for his condition under the supervision of the Blackhawks’ medical staff.
The team’s physician, Dr. Michael Terry, released a statement as well, supporting the player’s decision not to continue playing because of “the dramatic nature of the medications required and their decreasing effectiveness.”
This could signal the end to Hossa’s 19-year career. Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman calls his absence a significant loss.
Neither the team or Hossa has revealed the exact skin disorder or allergy, and the player says he will not be commenting further on his health.
In July 2009, Hossa signed a 12-year, $63 million contract with the Blackhawks. In 2010, Hossa and the Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup finals, the third straight trip for three different teams for the right-winger. But with Chicago, Hossa was finally on the winning team, and got to hoist the Cup. The team went on to win the championship in 2013 and also in 2015.
Hossa scored his 1,000th career point in October 2014, against the Ottawa Senators, the team with whom he began his career at the age of 18.