Bryan Bickell

Bryan Bickell joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

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USA TODAY

Bryan Bickell joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.

384 games in nine seasons, two Stanley Cup titles, nearly a Conn Smythe trophy in 2013 and 17 seconds we'll never forget.

Bryan Bickell's tenure with the Blackhawks was impressive and the second half of it was like a movie. The Hawks selected Bickell in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft at No. 41 overall.

The 6-foot-4 forward had hands and played big. Bickell could score big goals and deliver big hits. The Bowmanville, Ontario native was usually focused on getting to the net to help provide offense, but he wasn't shy to drop the gloves when things got hairy.

Bickell had 135 regular season points (65 goals, 70 assists) and 39 (20 goals, 19 assists) in the postseason with Chicago before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on June 15, 2016 along with Teuvo Teravainen for draft picks in a salary cap move. 

He raised the Stanley Cup twice (2013, 2015), but also earned a ring in 2010, factoring into three games against the Nashville Predators in the first round and one against the Vancouver Canucks in the second. Bickell picked up an assist in hist first NHL playoff game (April 22, 2010 at Nashville). 

The winger set up the most memorable timeframe in Blackhawks history at Boston for Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final when, off a pass from Jonathan Toews, he scored from in front of the crease with 1:16 remaining in regulation to make it 2-2. Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds later and the rest is sweet, sweet history.

Bickell finished the 2013 playoffs with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists), only two fewer than Patrick Kane, who took home the postseason MVP hardware. 

While with the Hurricanes, Bickell announced he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November 2016. 

He played his final NHL game with Carolina on April 9, 2017 before signing a one-day contract with Chicago on Oct. 4 later that year to retire a Blackhawk. 

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Blackhawks convention attendees announced, including captain Jonathan Toews

Blackhawks convention attendees announced, including captain Jonathan Toews

It was a disappointing season to say the least for the Blackhawks this past year, as nine straight playoff appearances came to an end. But the Hawks and Hawks fans alike are beginning their countdown to a new season. And a big moment will come the last weekend of July.

The Blackhawks Twitter page announced all the attendees for their annual Blackhawks Convention; the list includes captain Jonathan Toews.

The convention is being held at the Hilton Chicago July 27-29, and it will not only include Toews but several current players, alumni, coaches and broadcasters.

The weekend will include numerous autograph and photo sessions, Q&A panels, exhibits, interactive games and much more.

Some current players attending are: Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith, Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov.

The alumni list includes: Bryan Bickell, Adam Burish, Brian Campbell, Ben Eager, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Denis Savard and many others.

The legendary voices of the Blackhawks, TV play-by-play man Pat Foley and radio announcer John Wiedeman will also be in attendance.

The season is still a couple months away for the Blackhawks, whose home opener is Oct. 7 against Toronto. They start the campaign with two games on the road, with Ottawa first in line (Oct. 4), then the St. Louis Blues (Oct. 6).

Emotional Bryan Bickell retires with Blackhawks: 'I didn't want it any other way'

Emotional Bryan Bickell retires with Blackhawks: 'I didn't want it any other way'

Bryan Bickell got the call from the Blackhawks not long after he played his final game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a call offering him the opportunity to retire with the team with which he won three Stanley Cups.

“I didn’t want it any other way,” Bickell said.

Bickell’s retirement talk on Wednesday was reminiscent of so many of the media interviews he gave: sometimes funny, sometimes emotional and completely honest. The former Blackhawks forward, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly a year ago, fought back tears as he talked of his time with the team, ending everything here and his health — which is improving.

“Every day, every month is getting better,” Bickell said. “There are good days and bad days but there’s more good than bad. Things are going the right way. The treatments and technology they come out with every month, every year, it’s outstanding. Hopefully one day we find a cure and I hope we find help to do that.”

Bickell will keep being active in the fight against MS — “I want to tell my story, what I went through, just inspire other people to get diagnosed and the experience with their families.” As for hockey, maybe he’ll get involved with that again in the future.

“I want to get back into hockey,” he said. “I have two young girls, 3 and 1, and watching them grow is the first thing I want to do and see where it goes from there. Work with kids and things like that would be a goal for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bickell’s playing career ended way too prematurely. It ended as well as it could have, with Bickell fighting back to play in the Carolina Hurricanes’ final few regular-season games last spring and him scoring a shootout goal — “my shooting percentage is 50 percent, which is nice,” he said to laughs. When the news came down that he would retire with the Blackhawks he was inundated with messages. Bickell gave the Blackhawks his best; his retiring with them was a fitting, “thank you.”

“It was nice to see the respect,” Bickell said. “I know the news came out last night [on my retiring here] and seeing all the texts, the media and just all the respect for me and the team has built in the city, it’s an honor to be part of it. To finish here, it’s awesome.”