Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell just thought he slept funny on his arm. But after the pain continued, an MRI confirmed his worst fear. Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after experiencing symptoms since the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The disease forced Bickell to retire from the NHL in April.
Before his last two NHL games, Bickell told NHL.com that hopefully he could get a goal. “You never know when the last one is. It would be special,” Bickell said.
During the Hurricanes final game, Bickell scored a shoot-out goal on his last NHL shot.
The NHL presented an emotional tribute video to Bickell during the NHL Awards. After the video finished, Bickell and his wife Amanda gave an equally touching, teary-eyed speech.
Beautiful Bryan Bickell tribute at the NHL Awards pic.twitter.com/yrPnTBUNOH
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 22, 2017
After the video was finished, the cameras panned to Bickell and Amanda. The couple, visibly shaken up by the video, made their way up onto the stage.
Bickell then addressed the crowd.
Thank you all for that welcoming. I am truly honored to be here tonight, it’s a good honor. You know, let’s see if I can make it through this. This is going to be tough.
I have to thank the NHL for presenting me here tonight with that video. I know I teared up pretty hard but it showed my story and it showed my inspiration in overcoming something so tough. I would like to thank the Blackhawks, Rocky and Stan and Q, for all the great memories I had there. It was a home away from home.
I’d like to thank the Hurricanes for the support they gave me and my family, for a tough moment, it was overwhelming.
I’d like to thank my fans for all the positive talk they gave me to get me through this. For my family, that’s a year…my dad, my mom, Ashley, my brother-in-law, helped me live my dream. I am a little kid from Orono, Ontario. Played in the NHL and thank you guys.
If it wasn’t for anyone else, but for my beautiful wife Amanda. She was the rock and the soul. Whenever I said no, she said yes. She picked me up when I was down. If it wasn’t for Amanda…thank you Amanda.
Thank you guys, have a good night. I’m sorry! I’m sorry.
Bickell cut his speech short after getting choked up while speaking of his wife’s support.
The NHL also donated $20,000 to Bickell’s foundation, the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation. Their foundation creates awareness for pit bull-like dogs and works with them to assist abused children.
Thanks, Bicks. For everything. #BickellBrave
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) June 22, 2017
Photo: Ethan Miller
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