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Carolina Hurricanes’ Bryan Bickell diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

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The Hurricanes forward will be out of the lineup indefinitely.

Jamie Kellner

The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Friday that forward Bryan Bickell, sidelined since October 30 with a heretofore undisclosed illness, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family,” said Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis in a statement. “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 has one goal in seven games this season, his first with the Hurricanes after joining the club from the Chicago Blackhawks in the trade that brought Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina in June.

“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,” said Bickell. “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.”

The Blackhawks, with whom Bickell won three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015, issued a statement from team president and CEO John McDonough on Friday evening. “Our thoughts are with Bryan, his family and the Carolina Hurricanes during this challenging time,” said McDonough. “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.”

Active NHL players with multiple sclerosis are rare, but some have managed to play with the disease, notably former Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding. Harding was diagnosed with MS in 2012 and continued to play, winning the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey in 2013. He left the league quietly after the 2013-14 season and currently lives in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan.

Former Bruins goalkeeper Jordan Sigalet, whose NHL career consisted of 43 seconds of mop-up duty in January 2006, also lives with MS. Sigalet now serves as the goaltending coach for the Calgary Flames.

On behalf of everyone at Canes Country, our thoughts and well-wishes are with Bickell and his family as they begin their fight against MS.

The release from the team is below.

BICKELL DIAGNOSED WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Forward has appeared in seven games with the Hurricanes this season

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family,” said Francis. “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.”

“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,” said Bickell. “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.”

Bickell, 30, has scored one goal in seven games with the Hurricanes this season. The Bowmanville, Ont., native was acquired by Carolina on June 15 from Chicago, where he was a member of Chicago’s Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Bickell (6’4”, 223 lbs.) was drafted by Chicago in the second round, 41st overall, in the 2004 NHL Draft, and has scored 66 goals and earned 70 assists in 391 NHL career regular-season games with the Blackhawks and Hurricanes.