Bryan Bickell is one of the good guys in hockey.
We say that about a lot of them, but he truly is. And when a bad thing happens to a good guy, it’s difficult to see.
The Carolina Hurricanes announced today that Bickell, whom they acquired from the Blackhawks this summer, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was awful news for a player who was looking to turn his career around with his new team.
In a statement, Bickell said, “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.”
During the 2015 postseason Bickell was struggling with what he believed at the time was vertigo. His agent later confirmed that it was an ocular issue.
“We know Bryan is a great teammate and friend and when you hear news like that, obviously it’s tough to hear,” Marian Hossa said. “We wish Bryan all the best and try to reach out to him as soon as possible.”
Jonathan Toews said the news was “pretty shocking.”
“What can you say? I think everyone in this room, in this organization, as close as we are to Bicks, our hearts go out to him. We wish him the best health possible and obviously hopefully he can hang in there and find ways to stay strong despite his condition,” Toews said. “Obviously it's probably kind of crazy for him. I'm sure he's got a lot of people reaching out to him but I'm sure all the guys in this locker room that know him really well will and are good friends with will reach out and send a message and offer their help and support in any way. Like I said, pretty shocking but we're all thinking about him now.”
Blackhawks team president John McDonough released a statement regarding Bickell:
“Our thoughts are with Bryan, his family and the Carolina Hurricanes during this challenging time. He has built so many lasting relationships in Chicago both inside and outside of the Blackhawks organization based on his play on the ice and character off of it. Together, we will keep him in our thoughts during his fight against the disease.”
Bickell has always been a professional, especially in his dealings with the media. He could’ve said, “no comment” or refused to talk at all when his game struggled but he didn’t. He was as accommodating and frank when he was a healthy scratch as when he was scoring big goals during the Blackhawks’ 2013 run to the Stanley Cup.
In my opinion you see someone’s true character not when all is going well with him or her, but rather when it isn’t. Bickell has faced some tough times in his career. Now he’s facing them with his health. He hopes to play again. You can’t help but hope the same.
Thoughts and prayers to one of the good guys.
Thanks 2 all the fans for the prayers & wishes. It's all new 2 me & my family but seeing all the support from u guys makes it easier for us— Bryan Bickell (@bbicks29) November 11, 2016