Skip to main content

Hurricanes’ Bickell back practicing after multiple sclerosis diagnosis

Bryan Bickell has been sidelined for much of the season as he gets treatment for multiple sclerosis, but the 30-year-old took part in practice for the second time in less than a week.

The hockey world was shocked in mid-November when news came that Carolina Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

At the time of the diagnosis, Bickell, 30, said he had been struggling to understand what had been going on with his body for more than a full season, dealing with health issues that were at the time diagnosed as the symptoms of vertigo. The issues dated back to the 2015 Stanley Cup final, during which Bickell captured his third Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Upon learning of the MS diagnosis, though, Bickell said he was hopeful that he would eventually find his way back into action and continue his NHL career, and in December, Bickell told reporters that it could be a month or more before he was able to return.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s going to be a marathon, and it’s going to take some time to get things right, ideally, to get me back on the ice,” Bickell said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. “That’s what I’m hoping for…It could be a month, it could be a couple months to get back on the ice.”

Well, two months after the diagnosis, Bickell appears to be on his way back, even if that just means getting onto the ice with teammates. Bickell returned to the ice in a non-contact jersey late last week and was again out for practice with teammates on Monday. It could signal the start of what would be an inspiring return to the lineup.

Bickell was last able to suit up on Oct. 30, but it was almost clear then that something was ailing him. He skated only 5:45 in the outing, was out the next four games, listed as out with an illness five games later and the announcement of his diagnosis came on Nov. 11. In seven games with the Hurricanes before he hit the injured list, Bickell scored one goal and was averaging less than 10 minutes per game. 

There may be some hope that knowing what is ailing him could even help Bickell get his career back on track. According to Lazerus, Bickell said he had grown frustrated with his play and not knowing what was wrong didn’t help matters. Now, with Bickell knowing what he’s dealing with and getting proper care, there’s the potential for him to find his game. But, if nothing else, everyone around the league will be thrilled just to see him get back on the ice.

Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.



The Calgary Flames Aren't Messing Around Here

Game 1 was a bit of mess, depending on how you look at it. But despite blowing a lead, the Calgary Flames showed they're a tough cookie to crack, and if their stars keep moving, stopping them will be a challenge.

03_20180128_RIG_JOK_KOK 4

Could Crypto Be The Future For Hockey Contracts?

North Americans playing for European club teams often have to wait for their money to clear the international banking system and a new company hopes to change that.

Logan Thompson

Logan Thompson Took a Unique Road to Become Team Canada Starter

It's been quite the past few months for Logan Thompson, who went from Vegas' third goalie to becoming Canada's starter at the World Hockey Championship in Finland.