The Carolina Hurricanes announced today that forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family,” said Hurricanes executive vice president Ron Francis in a released statement Friday afternoon. “He will need to take some time to rest in the immediate future, and we will support him as he takes the necessary steps for his health. We ask that his privacy be respected during the process.”

For now, Bickell still plans to continue his hockey-playing career, and it most certainly appears the Hurricanes are going to be there to help him every step of the way. This is obviously great to see, because this is quite a shocking development and leaves some uncertainty about the future for Bickell.

Bickell says he has been having concerns about his health since the summer of 2015, but it wasn’t until now he finally got some answers, as unfortunate as they may be.

“Since the 2015 playoffs (with the Chicago Blackhawks at the time), I’ve been struggling to understand what was going on with my body. Again during the past few weeks, it felt like something wasn’t right,” said Bickell. “Obviously this is a bit of shock for my family and me, but I am hopeful I will be able to return to the ice and continue playing the game that I love.”

We’ll be rooting for Bickell and hope to see him lace up the skates once again.

[Carolina Hurricanes]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.