CHICAGO (AP) — Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa will miss the entire 2017-18 NHL season because of a progressive skin disorder he says he's been treating for years.
The team announced the news on Wednesday. The 38-year-old veteran said severe side effects associated with medication to treat the skin disorder will make it impossible to play hockey next season.
"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," Hossa said.
Hossa said he's been privately undergoing treatment for the last few years under the supervision of Chicago's medical staff.
Dr. Michael Terry said the team supports Hossa's decision not to play and is the appropriate approach to "keep him functional and healthy in the short term and throughout his life."
General manager Stan Bowman calls Hossa's absence a significant loss. Hossa, a 19-year veteran, has only missed 46 games over the past six seasons.
"His teammates and coaches know he battled through some very tough physical difficulties but never complained or missed games despite the challenges he faced," Bowman said.
Hossa, a Slovak native, had 45 points last season and has been considered one of the best defensive forwards in the league throughout his career. He has been part of three Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks teams during his eight seasons in Chicago.
He has four seasons left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $5,275,000. The cap-strapped Blackhawks likely will put Hossa on injured reserve to get some relief.
His on-ice contributions will be harder to replace.
Hossa has 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,390 regular-season games with Ottawa, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago. He has 149 points in 205 playoff games and has appeared in the Cup Final five times.