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Toews caps Blackhawks career with emotional goodbye: 'I love you, Chicago'

Stacy Revere / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jonathan Toews' final game with the Chicago Blackhawks was about as emotional as one might expect.

The Blackhawks announced earlier Thursday that they would not be re-signing their pending unrestricted free agent captain at the end of the campaign.

Following Thursday's overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Blackhawks aired a heartfelt video tribute to honor Toews.

Toews received a lengthy standing ovation from the home crowd. Even members of the Flyers stayed on the ice out of respect for the 34-year-old.

Toews then took one last lap and thanked the United Center faithful once again.

"I love you, Chicago," he said. "This is my home, you'll always be in my heart."

"I'm blown away," Toews said of the send-off postgame, according to Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun Times. "I really felt almost unworthy of a moment like that."

Toews also disclosed further about the decision to part ways with the club.

"I knew in my heart, before I had the conversation with (general manager Kyle Davidson), that it's time (to move on)," he said.

"There's absolutely no hard feelings. I have nothing but love and gratitude for the Blackhawks."

The Blackhawks may have lost the game, but Toews sent the fans into a frenzy one last time when he scored his final goal with the club - a redirection in the second period.

Toews came inches away from capping his Blackhawks career in true fairytale fashion with an overtime winner, but his breakaway attempt just trickled past the net.

Toews won three Stanley Cups during his 15-year run with the Blackhawks. He also took home the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010, the Selke Trophy in 2013, and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2015.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba, product ranks sixth on the franchise's all-time points list (883). Chicago drafted him third overall in 2006.

It's unclear what the future holds for Toews, who's struggled with health issues in recent years. He missed the entire 2021 campaign while dealing with chronic immune response syndrome and symptoms of long Covid. He was sidelined for two months this season with those lingering symptoms, but he wanted to return for one final send-off with the Blackhawks.

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