Marian Hossa is opening up about the skin condition that forced him to retire last May.
The former star forward recently went into detail about the physical challenges he endured in the final years of his career in an interview with The Athletic's Scott Powers in his native Slovakia.
"I wasn't really thinking about the end, it just (came) basically, the eczema kind of told me," Hossa told Powers. "My body told me there was no other way. That's when I had to start thinking, 'Well, it could be.' Because my skin (was) almost like breaking. (It was) leaking from the wounds. (I was) missing practices."
Hossa said he was diagnosed with eczema six years ago, triggered by the combination of his sweat and hockey equipment. It was initially manageable but intensified over time, as red blotches began forming on his body.
Eventually, his condition affected more than just hockey.
"That's the one thing, I was still in great shape, I felt good. But I came home, I was afraid to touch my kids because (my) skin was not in a good shape," Hossa explained. "I said 'I'm not supposed to be like this. I'm not supposed to eat pills to play hockey.' Those pills are not easy pills. Those are hard pills. Every second week I have to go to (the) hospital to check my blood. If those pills don't affect me, something else (does).
"I said at what point should I be doing this to keep going? I have a life. I have a young family. I don't want to risk it with another year with the pills on me. So I just came to the thing where I had to make a big decision and I have to be like, 'Body says you have to stop.'"
Hossa said he felt uncomfortable removing his gear in the dressing room after games and that his condition prevented him from going to dinner with his Team Europe teammates before the final at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
The 40-year-old won the Stanley Cup three times with the Chicago Blackhawks and played for five teams in his 19-season career, racking up 525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 games.