An open letter to Bryan Bickell:
I do not know if this letter will ever make it to you and that is okay. For this letter will serve as a reminder to all that do read it that uncontrollable illness and hardship is not the fault of anyone, especially not the person suffering.
Hearing about your story during this past season was truly moving. To see a man that did so much for the Chicago Blackhawks and continuously brought joy to the lives of all who watched him play have to give up the game because of something uncontrollable was heartbreaking. However the most moving and unbearable moment of this whole situation came during your recognition at the NHL Expansion draft. I could not help but to hear you apologize to the audience and viewers. Hearing this flooded my mind with emotion and inspired me to write this letter to you. Mr. Bickell, you owe not one single person an apology. In fact it is us, your fans that are sorry and owe you a lot more than just an apology. We are sorry your hockey life was taken from you because of a situation you could not control. We are sorry you feel like you owe us anything. We are sorry we haven’t done enough for the research and understanding of Multiple Sclerosis and other diseases. And lastly, we are sorry a man like you has to deal with the effects of such a disease. I hope you understand you cannot blame yourself for anything that has happened. I understand why you might feel this way but it is important to remember that you could do nothing to stop it and you did nothing to make it happen. You do not need to say, “I’m sorry” to anyone.
I also want to offer the most sincere thank you. I cannot offer enough thanks to you for things you did for the sport of hockey and for the city of Chicago. Thank you for saving the Hawks in game 6 of the 2013 Stanley cup Finals and for carrying the team throughout the entirety of the playoffs that year. Thank you for helping build a dynasty. Thank you for being one of the toughest people to step onto the ice. Thank you for being tough enough to make the decision to step off the ice when enough was enough. Thank you for fighting for yourself and for all others suffering from MS. Most people would hide and give up when faced with such adversity. Finally, thank you for being the role model that you are. You are not just a role model for kids aspiring to play hockey but one that people from all walks of life can look up to as an example of how to live.
Mr. Bickell, thank you.