The Chicago Blackhawks are teaming up with Bryan Bickell one last time in a brilliant move for both the organization and the former player
This is a great move for both the ’Hawks and Bickell. He is and was so loved by the Blackhawks’ fan base and should remain part of the organization in some way. Since Rocky Wirtz has taken over as team chairman, the Blackhawks have been really good about honoring and taking care of their alumni.
As you may know, Bickell had to retire from the NHL after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Bickell, like so many other players, got his start in Rockford. He grew up as a person and a hockey player while with the Chicago Blackhawks. Fans of the Blackhawks also got to see Bickell grow.
When he got to the ’Hawks, he did some highs and some lows. Every ’Hawks will never forget his ultimate high. While Bickell spent his last season with the Carolina Hurricanes organization, he will always be remembered as a Blackhawks player.
Bickell’s highest of highs
Bickell’s highest moment in hockey was his playoff performance in 2013. He was the X-factor in the ’Hawks’ championship run. His number do not tell the whole story. His goal in Round 1 against Minnesota helped the ’Hawks win their first playoff game since being eliminated the year before by Phoenix.
To my untrained eye, whenever the team was on the ropes and looked to be on the brink, Bickell would score a big goal. I would tweet and tell people, “When the ’Hawks are in a pickle, call on Bryan Bickell.” Bickell scored big goal after big goal in the playoffs.
Nobody will forget that Bickell scored the first of the two goals in 17 seconds as the Blackhawks pulled out the Game 6 win in the Stanley Cup Final against Boston, sealing the series and Cup.
Remembering Bickell as a player
Last season, I went to the see the AHL’s Chicago Wolves face Bickell and the Charlotte Checkers. My friends and I take her nephews to a Wolves game every year. It just so happens that it was one Bickell’s last games in the AHL before joining the Carolina Hurricanes. I felt that it was right that Chicago fans got to see Bickell play one last time in Chicago, albeit with the AHL’s Checkers.
I will always remember seeing Bickell play one last time.
With Bickell set to become a retired member of the Blackhawks, the organization can honor him in front of the United Center crowd with a “One Last Shift” moment. The Blackhawks have used “One Last Shift” to honor alumni such as Denis Savard, Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour.
Now we can all say goodbye to Bickell in Chicago on the United Center ice. I hope the United Center has extra napkins, as there will not be a dry eye in the arena.
Welcome home, Bryan Bickell — always a ’Hawk.