The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Friday afternoon that veteran forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The 30-year-old Bickell said in a statement released by the team that he has been trying to understand what was going on with his body since the 2015 playoffs, and that over the past few weeks he again did not feel completely right.
“Obviously this is a bit of shock for my family and me,” Bickell said in the statement. “But I am hopeful I will be able to return to the ice and continue playing the game that I love.”
Here is Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis:
“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family. 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.”
The Hurricanes acquired Bickell from the Chicago Blackhawks over the summer in a trade that also brought Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina. He has played in seven games for the Hurricanes this season, scoring one goal.
Bickell really made a name for himself during the 2012-13 season with the Blackhawks when he had an incredible postseason performance, scoring nine goals and adding eights assists while helping the team win the Stanley Cup.
He signed a long-term contract with the team over the summer that ultimately led to his trade this summer.
Bickell is the second prominent NHL player to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the past few years. Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding was diagnosed back in 2012. He was able to return to the ice for parts of two seasons in 2012-13 and 2013-14, leading the league in save percentage during the latter season.