On Wednesday, Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding announced he’d been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Harding, 28, received the news over a month ago but only recently shared the information with people outside his immediate family, including Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and head coach Mike Yeo.
Here’s more, from the Minnesota Star Tribune’s Mike Russo:
[Multiple sclerosis is] an incurable autoimmune disease in which the body randomly attacks and eats away the protective lining of his nerves and causes them to scar. It causes problems with balance, fatigue and blurred vision. There are 25,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States every year.
“I had a couple days where I felt bad for myself, but no more,” said Harding, who plans on continuing his career. “There’s things in life that happen. Sometimes you can’t explain it. You deal with it.”
Harding first learned he might have MS on Sept. 27, when Wild team doctor Dan Peterson noticed an abnormality on Harding’s MRI.
That led to a series of tests and meetings with Dr. Jonathan Calkwood of the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology — dubbed the “MS guru” by Peterson — who confirmed the diagnosis and started Harding on an series of medications.
The Saskatchewan native, who signed a three-year, $5.7 million deal with the Wild in June, was off-ice for 1.5 months dealing with the initial stages of MS, but was cleared to skate two weeks ago.
Harding says he plans to continue his career.
“I know what my overall goal is to be, and that’s a No. 1 goalie of the Minnesota Wild and to win a Stanley Cup here,” he said. “It would make me happy to overcome this. Not just overcome this, but to really succeed with it.”
Fletcher has issued a statement on the Wild website:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh and his family following the news that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Josh’s competitive fire has led him to a successful career in the NHL and we know he will approach this new battle in the same manner.”
It should be noted Harding’s situation mirrors that of former Bruins draftee Jordan Sigalet.
Sigalet was diagnosed with MS while playing for Bowling Green in 2004, but went on to a stellar career with the Falcons and subsequently played for Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence for three seasons.
He appeared in one contest for the Bruins in 2005-06 — a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning — and now serves as the goaltending coach for Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.