“Over the course of the last few years, under the supervision of the Blackhawks medical staff, I have been privately undergoing treatment for a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder,” Hossa said Wednesday morning. “Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 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, 38, thanked the Blackhawks for their support and said he would not comment further on his health.
The statement followed a Sportsnet.ca report Tuesday that Hossa’s career could be over due to a severe allergic reaction caused by his hockey equipment.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman called the situation “extremely difficult” but praised Hossa for his contributions to the team.
“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 in a statement. “The organization will continue to provide him every resource he needs to maintain his health.”
Dr. Michael Terry, the Blackhawks’ team physician, said they strongly support Hossa’s decision not to play and called it the appropriate approach to “keep him functional and healthy in the short term and throughout his life.”
Hossa scored 26 goals last season, his 19th in the league. He has four years remaining on a 12-year, $63.3 million deal he signed in 2009 and is due to be paid $1 million for each of the next four seasons.
The Blackhawks were swept by the eventual Western Conference champion Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. Hossa indicated afterward that he planned to return next season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.