Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell will retire from the NHL after this season.
He has only played in nine games this season after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November. After playing 10 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, Bickell returned to the Hurricanes’ lineup two games ago, and will play the final two games of his career this weekend.
Bickell told NHL.com of his decision on Saturday morning. Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters was close to tears when asked about his player’s decision. Peters coached Bickell when the two were with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate from 2008-2010. Peters called Bickell “a man’s man” and “a pro’s pro,” as well as “unbelievably brave.”
The Hurricanes will wear “29” stickers on their helmets to honor Bickell this weekend. Bickell will be in the starting lineup and on the first unit power-play. His teammates also surprised him this morning by attending a fundraising walk with “Bickell Brave” t-shirts on.
Bickell played parts of nine seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups. He’s perhaps most-known for his incredible run during the 2013 playoffs, where he scored nine goals and 17 points in 23 games. That included the game-tying goal in Game Six of the Finals, followed by Dave Bolland’s Cup-winner just 17 seconds later.
Everyone at Pro Hockey Rumors wishes Bickell the best in his post-NHL days.