UPDATE: It was a pretty sweet moment for Bickell and Hawks fans. There’s word going around he could even do One More Shift for the season opener against the Penguins on Thursday. That’d be amazing.
Bryan Bickell and his standard smile pic.twitter.com/mSJHjQSLHA— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 4, 2017
Bryan Bickell started as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, and he’ll go out as one, too. The former Hawks forward will sign a one-day contract with the team Wednesday before officially retiring from the NHL after 10 seasons, reports the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh.
Bickell played with the Blackhawks from 2007 to 2016 before the team dumped his contract to the Hurricanes. He played one final season there during which he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that impacts the central nervous system.
Before leaving Chicago, Bickell had seen his health deteriorate as everyone around the team seemed befuddled as to what was wrong, including himself. It wasn’t until he moved to Carolina that doctors finally figured out the diagnosis. In his final game with the Hurricanes, he scored a shootout goal.
It’s difficult to talk about Bickell around these parts without thinking about his contract, which came to define him later in his career more than the incredible playoff exploits that led to it. Still, he’s an important figure in the greatest era of Blackhawks history, and this is a worthy way for him to go out.
One great gesture would be to bring Bickell back for One Last Shift eventually. Those moments are usually reserved for team legends, but how else could we describe what Bickell accomplished on the ice, and off of it to raise awareness for MS, other than legendary? His trade out of Chicago was pretty unceremonious, and he never really got a proper sendoff. Presumably that’ll happen Wednesday, but doing something in a packed Madhouse would be even better.
Bickell scored some of the biggest goals of the past decade in Hawks hockey, and continues to make Hawks fans proud to this day. Let’s hear it for Bicks one last time.