Bryan Bickell will officially retire wearing the same sweater in which he raised three Stanley Cups.
Bickell signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, bringing his career to an end with the same team that drafted him in 2004. Bickell will also reportedly will take 'one last shift' (aka an honorary lap around the ice) prior to the Blackhawks' season-opener against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
The Blackhawks have done this with other notable alumni but it will likely be an extra emotional affair for Bickell and everyone in attendance on Thursday night. Bickell's retirement comes after the power forward Carolina Hurricanes -- before returning late in the season for an emotional sendoff ., a disease that attacks the central nervous system, last year. He missed most of the season -- his first with the
Bickell will undoubtedly receive another emotional farewell at the United Center, which he called home during his nine years with the Blackhawks. He doesn't quite have the career statistics as other Blackhawks icons, but Bickell was a key piece of the team's extended run of success and will forever be recognized for scoring the tying goal in the clinching Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins.
Seeing a guy get robbed of his ability to play the game he loves and be forced into retirement is still an extremely sad and unfortunate conclusion to a commendable career, but it's great to see Bickell going out with a great sendoff and full appreciation from the organization that meant so much to him and vice versa.