CHICAGO: Marian Hossa has a "progressive skin disorder" and will not play next season for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Slovakian hockey star announced on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old forward has been undergoing treatment from doctors for a severe allergic reaction to his hockey equipment.
"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.
"Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me."
The skin problem, sometimes referred to as "gunk", has led to the early retirement of several NHL players dating back to the 1970s, including former Black Hawks and Minnesota North Stars defenceman Tom Reid.
The condition causes a mass of ugly, purple welts to appear on the body and scratching the skin makes the condition worse.
Edmonton Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Rick Vaive, Montreal Canadiens star Jacques Lemaire, North Stars players Lou Nanne and Dennis Hextall all endured bouts of gunk during their NHL careers.
Hossa said the side effects of the medications he was taken for the allergy made it impossible for him to play in what would have been his 20th NHL season in 2017-18.
Hossa won the Stanley Cup three times with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He just missed out on an Olympic medal when Slovakia finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Hossa signed a 12-year contract before the 2009-10 season worth about $63.3-million.
The former first round pick of the Ottawa Senators in 1997, is coming off a season in which he recorded 26 goals and 45 points.