Canes Now

Bickell plays first game since MS diagnosis, helps Checkers win

Bryan Bickell has played another hockey game.

The Carolina Hurricanes forward, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, returned to the ice Saturday with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, earning an assist in a 6-1 victory over the Cleveland Monsters.

Bickell, who last played in a game Oct. 30 against the Philadelphia Flyers, was assigned to the Checkers on Friday by the Hurricanes.

“It feels pretty good," Bickell told the Checkers website after the game at Charlotte’s Bojangles Coliseum. "It was a long wait to get that game, but that first game's over with. It was a rough one to jump back in. … It was kind of rough, but we got that through and we got the win, which was the most important thing. We'll make progress step by step and see how it goes.”

Bickell, 30, wants to return to the Canes’ lineup this season. That has been his goal since he began undergoing treatments for MS, then rejoined the Canes’ practices in Janaury.

“There are long ups and downs, but it's nice to put a uniform on, play with the team and do what I've been doing my whole life,” Bickell said. “It was pretty scary in the first month about if this day was going to come, but I'm happy that it came and now I'm moving forward.”

Bickell had family and friends at Bojangles Coliseum to see his return game. His wife, Amanda, posted an Instagram photo with their two daughters during the game — smiles all around — with the hashtag #proudwife.