Bryan Bickell spent Wednesday morning at the United Center in Chicago with his family after signing a one-day contract with the Blackhawks to officially retire from the NHL. Bickell, 31, was drafted by the Blackhawks 41st overall in 2004 and played nine of his 10 NHL years in Chicago. He was part of three Stanley Cup teams in Chicago before spending his final season with the Carolina Hurricanes. His career was cut short after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last season.

Bickell's final address

Bickell announced that last season would be his last in the NHL as a member of the Hurricanes, but he now will officially retire as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

He met the media with wife Amanda and his daughters, Kinslee and Makayla alongside him. He expressed his appreciation of the Blackhawks despite the unfortunate circumstances, being quoted by the Chicago Blackhawks website saying, "As any professional athlete will tell you, stepping away from the game is extremely difficult especially given my circumstances—I'm honored to be retiring a Chicago Blackhawk, a team that has given me and my family so many great memories."

Bickell's Blackhawks career

Bryan Bickell made his NHL debut in 2006-2007, but did not play regularly at the NHL level until 2010-2011.

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He did dress for four playoff games the previous year when the Blackhawks won the first of three Cups under Rockwell Wirtz and Joel Quenneville. His first full year in 2010-2011, Bickell scored a career-high 17 goals and 37 points in 78 games.

His greatest accomplishments came in the 2013 playoffs when the Blackhawks won their second cup of the decade. In 23 playoff games he scored nine goals and eight assists, including the crucial game-tying goal in game six of the Stanley Cup finals in Boston with 1:16 to go. Former Blackhawk David Bolland scored the game-winner 17 seconds later to win it all. Bickell's efforts in 2013 got him a four-year, $16 million extension with Chicago.

Over the next two seasons, Bickell scored 25 goals and 18 assists in 139 games played. He won his last Stanley Cup in 2015, playing in 18 playoff games and scoring five assists. While his numbers may not have seemed $16 million worthy, he was always praised for being a great teammate and a hard worker. He played in only 25 NHL games in 2015-2016, and the Blackhawks would trade him to Carolina in the offseason.

Battling MS

It was clear Bickell was struggling toward the end of his career, and that he wasn't feeling right. Bickell and his teammates did not really understand what was wrong. Last November, he was diagnosed with MS, a disease that affects the nervous system. The NHL world was saddened by the news, but Bickell was determined to stay strong and fight the disease. He played his final game on April 9, 2017 in Philadelphia and scored a goal in the shootout after getting a nice ovation.

Now focusing on fighting MS, he has moved back to his native Canada with his family.