Bryan Bickell Signed A 1-Day Contract So He Can Retire As A Blackhawk
By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 4, 2017 4:39PM
Bryan Bickell holds the Stanley Cup trophy during the Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field in 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The NHL announced today that Bryan Bickell was signing 1-day contract so he can officially retire as a Blackhawk. Though he spent the past year with the Carolina Hurricanes, his game-tying shot in the last 90 seconds of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final had cemented his status as a Blackhawk legend. Today's symbolic contract allows the 31-year-old to retire in the Blackhawk sweater where he made his name and spent 384 of his 395 games in the NHL.
In the past few years, Bickell had been struggling on the ice—he fainted once during a playoff game in 2015. This November he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and though he continued to play throughout the season, he decided to hang up his skates ahead of this season.
"As any professional athlete will tell you, stepping away from the game is extremely difficult especially given my circumstances," Bickell told NHL.com. "I'm honored to be retiring a Chicago Blackhawk-a team that has given me and my family so many great memories. I appreciate Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and Stan Bowman for allowing me this opportunity."
Bickell was a second-round pick during the 2004 draft for the Blackhawks. He was a member of the team during its 2010, 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup wins. He made his name during the 2013 finals when he played in all 23 games, scored 17 points and tied the game with this unforgettable shot in Game 6 against the Bruins.
17 seconds later his teammate Dave Bolland made the Stanley Cup-clinching goal.
When Bickell was diagnosed with MS last fall, he and his wife Amanda Bickell vowed to take things day by day.
"He's asked me at one point, 'Are you scared? What's going to happen if next year you're taking care of three people rather than just the two kids and I'm in a wheelchair?'" Amanda told NHL.com. "I'm like, 'I'm not thinking about that. It's not really in my mind at the moment.' I just decided when we found out that positive is the best way to go. So that's me thinking positive and him thinking positive and just taking it day by day."
Bickell did return to the ice for 11 games last season. He ended on a high note, finishing out the last game of his career by winning a game against the Flyers in a shootout. Both teams gave him a standing ovation.
Now Bickell is back in his native Ontario where he lives with Amanda and his two daughters Makayla and Kinslee. In addition to raising awareness of MS, a condition he wasn't familiar with until his own diagnosis, he also runs a nonprofit dedicated to working with pit bulls and abused children. He also posts lots of wonderful shots of the fish he catches on Instagram:
Here he is with his daughter Wednesday, enjoying his last moments as a Blackhawk: