Unfortunately the biggest story in hockey today is the story of Minnesota Wild goalie, 28 year old Josh Harding.
About a month ago, Harding was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that effects the spinal chord and the brain. Symptoms vary from patient to patient and they range from muscle spasms to having trouble with vision. In some cases it leads to depression and the inability to care for yourself. None of that sounds good for someone whose career depends on their body.
Despite the diagnosis, Harding has no plans of walking away from the game of hockey anytime soon. “I don’t look at this like I’ve got to take a new path,” Harding told the Star Tribune who originally broke the story, “this is a little bump in the road. I’ve had lots in life. I had a couple days where I felt bad for myself, but no more. There’s things in life that happen. Sometimes you can’t explain it. You deal with it.”
Harding who was drafted in the second round in 2002 by the Minnesota Wild signed a 3 year, $5.7 million deal in June to stay in Minnesota. He plans on honoring that contract and has some lofty goals along the way, “You can let it get you down for a bit, but you’ve got to move past it. I know what my overall goal is to be, and that’s a No. 1 goalie of the Minnesota Wild and to win a Stanley Cup here. It would make me happy to overcome this. Not just overcome this, but to really succeed with it. ”
Harding also doesn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him, “I don’t want people treating me different, I don’t want people feeling bad for me, I don’t want people moping around. I want this to be a story where when we look back, it was a happy story.”
Although MS isn’t curable it is treatable with various medications. Harding has already shown the ability to bounce back, as he did from a torn ACL in 2010, but lets call a spade a spade. This is a little different than a torn ACL. Either way Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is a believer, “Josh’s competitive fire has led him to a successful career in the NHL and we know he will approach this new battle in the same manner,” Feltcher told the Star Tribune.
Josh Harding has a new fan in me and I’ll be pulling for him every step of the way. Now, if only the NHL would get back on the ice and this comeback story could really get rolling.