After dealing with recurring numbness in his arm and leg, the 31-year-old veteran forward found out in November that he had MS, which causes a person’s immune system to attack the body’s central nervous system.
With the help of drug treatments, Bickell got back on the ice in January and began playing for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in February. He recorded a goal and three assists in 10 games for the Checkers before the Hurricanes called him up this week.
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Carolina has four games remaining in the regular season and are seven points out of the playoff picture, putting them on the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference.
But regardless of where they are in the standings or how gloomy the playoff outlook is, there’s no doubt that this is an exciting and proud time for Bickell.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Bickell told NHL.com. “After getting diagnosed and that first month not knowing if I was ever going to play hockey again, it was tough to do every-day stuff and stuff like that. But to see the progress from where I was to where I am now is definitely special.”
This is also a big step for Bickell considering that he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. After winning three Stanley Cup titles with the Blackhawks, the winger was traded to Carolina last summer. He has one goal in seven games for the Hurricanes this season.