The Carolina Hurricanes, via their official team website, announced today that forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Ron Franics, the team’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, made the announcement.
“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family. He will need to take some time to rest in the immediate future, and we will support him as he takes the necessary steps for his health. We ask that his privacy be respected during the process.”
Bickell was also quoted in the team’s release:
“Since the 2015 playoffs, I’ve been struggling to understand what was going on with my body. Again during the past few weeks, it felt like something wasn’t right. Obviously this is a bit of shock for my family and me, but I am hopeful I will be able to return to the ice and continue playing the game that I love.”
Obviously it’s unclear when or even if Bickell will return to the ice, though as his comments above suggest, he has every intention of suiting up again. The rugged winger was acquired by Carolina in the summer along with forward Teuvo Teravainen from Chicago in exchange for draft picks and salary cap relief. Bickell had appeared in seven games for Carolina netting a single goal and averaging 9:42 of ice time.
Former Minnesota goalie Josh Harding was diagnosed with MS early in the 2013-13 season but would return to the NHL to play in 34 regular season contests with the Wild over the next two seasons. That should offer Bickell some hope of an eventual return.
The Pro Hockey Rumors staff would like to extend our thoughts and well wishes to Bryan and his family during this time.