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Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews out indefinitely with illness

The Chicago Blackhawks will be without Jonathan Toews for the foreseeable future as the team captain recovers from an unspecified illness.

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(Reuters) – Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said on Tuesday he will not report to training camp next month ahead of the NHL season and will be out indefinitely due to a medical issue.

The 32-year-old Canadian, a three-times Stanley Cup winner and two-times Olympic gold medallist, said in a statement he has been experiencing symptoms that have left him feeling “drained and lethargic.”

“I am working with doctors so I can better understand my condition,” said Toews. “Until I can get my health back to a place where I feel I can perform at an elite level and help my team, I will not be joining the Blackhawks for training camp.

“I do not have a timetable for when I will rejoin the team. I am extremely disappointed, but it wouldn’t be fair to myself or my teammates to attempt to play in my current condition.”

Toews, who was selected by Chicago with the third overall pick in the 2006 National Hockey League Draft, had 60 points in 70 games last season.

“To Blackhawks fans, I will continue to do whatever I can to get back on the ice and return to play the game I love for the team I love,” said Toews.

“I will not be making any further comment at this time and ask everyone to please respect my privacy as I focus on my health and recovery.”

Toews is considered a complete package given his offensive skills, impeccable defensive game and leadership abilities that have established him as one of the NHL’s most respected players.

He was the centrepiece of Blackhawks teams that won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

“Jonathan’s health is our top priority as he deals with this medical issue,” said Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

“The Chicago Blackhawks organization and our medical staff will provide all necessary resources to help him return to playing hockey.”

The Blackhawks are scheduled to begin the regular season on Jan. 13 at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)