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BLOG: Toews Salutes Chicago Nurse in The Real Heroes Project

Blackhawks captain salutes local nurse who battled COVID-19 herself and is donating antibodies to help others

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum /

Today, the No. 19 Blackhawks sweater doesn't have the name of captain Jonathan Toews across the back.

As part of The Real Heroes Project, Toews covered his name and replaced it with Hayley Lesnik in salute of the Chicago nurse who not only fights the virus on the front line, but has fought and recovered from COVID-19 herself and is now donating antibodies in the hopes of helping others in need. 

"I'm proud to put Hayley Lesnik on my jersey," Toews said in a video Wednesday morning.

Tweet from @JonathanToews: Hayley, I am proud to wear your name on my back! The @NHLBlackhawks are incredibly grateful for you and all your fellow nurses in this fight. I know you battled COVID yourself and are now donating your antibodies to help find a treatment. You���re truly a hero! #TheRealHeroes

"You have all the selfless leadership qualities that we at the Blackhawks, myself included, aspire to possess," he continued. "Keep fighting the good fight and couldn't be more proud to have you on my jersey."

The Real Heroes Project is a collaborative initiative across 14 professional sports leagues with athletes dedicating their jerseys and uniforms to a special healthcare hero who is helping their community on the forefront of this global crisis. Toews joined Wayne Gretzky and Canadian Women's Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser to represent the NHL in the project. 

Tweet from @NHL: No one has been more clutch than our healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines. Join @wick_22, @WayneGretzky, @JonathanToews and other sports stars in showing your thanks to a healthcare hero by making a jersey in their honor and sharing it using #TheRealHeroes.

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