Scoggins: Wild's Harding keeps raising MS awareness

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 10, 2013 - 12:09 AM

The goalie’s perseverance means a lot, especially to a 7-year-old who wanted to help.

hide

Wild goalie Josh Harding checked his helmet during the first period of Game 5 of an NHL first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Josh Harding has a leg injury. That much we know.

How severe? Hard to tell. It’s playoff time so the Wild would rather keep that information a secret.

But Harding is a tough cookie and he wasn’t about to let a “lower-body injury” keep him out of the net Thursday night with the Wild on the brink of elimination. This guy refused to put his hockey career on hiatus after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall. Or when complications caused him to miss 33 games.

So with the Wild facing a goalie quandary before a win-or-else Game 5 against the Blackhawks, Harding declared himself fit to play.

“We don’t know how he feels, but you have to trust him,” coach Mike Yeo said before the game. “And he says that he is good to go and there was absolutely no doubt about it, so that’s what we were looking for.”

Harding left Game 4 after one period with what looked like a left leg injury. A collision with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews didn’t look particularly horrific, but it knocked Harding out of the game, leaving his status for Game 5 up in the air. We should have known better than to count him out. He’s been through much worse than this.

Harding’s perseverance in the face of an incurable disease continues to serve as a true inspiration for those affected by multiple sclerosis. Harding undoubtedly recognizes the significance and scope of the impact he’s made on MS awareness. But he wants to save that discussion for another time and place.

For now, he wants to be recognized as just another hockey player competing in the NHL playoffs. That, he says, remains his sole focus and everything else can wait until after the Wild’s season ends. He declines comment on all health-related questions and has not spoken publicly about his fight since mid-April when he discussed his refusal to put his career on hold.

“You’ve been playing hockey all your life and to let something come in the way of it, you usually don’t — you’ll find a way to make it happen,” he said. “You can’t predict the future, but I think everybody in my position would do the same thing.”

The outpouring of support arrives in daily reminders. The Wild has received interview requests from People Magazine, CNN and various other national media outlets. E-mails and fan mail addressed to Harding flood the team’s inbox every week.

And then there’s 7-year-old Cody Saleen, who met Harding at an autograph signing in February. Harding signed Cody’s goalie stick, poster and two pucks. The two posed for pictures.

On the drive home, Cody’s dad, Chuck, asked his young son what he thought.

“This is the best day of my life,” Cody said.

Cody had heard about Harding’s illness, though the full picture is impossible for a second-grader to comprehend. Cody’s mother, Nikki, went online and printed out information about multiple sclerosis to share with Cody.

“Just so he knew what Harding is going through,” Nikki said.

Cody’s response made his parents’ heart swell.

“Cody was concerned about Harding and he asked if there was anything he could do to help,” Nikki said.

The family brainstormed and this past Sunday, Cody participated in a Walk MS event in Harding’s honor. Cody helped raise $300 from family and friends to donate to the MS Society, though the youngster initially wanted to give his money directly to Harding.

“He’s my favorite player,” Cody said.

This is Harding’s impact and the attention he can bring to his disease. Anna Kucera, public relations director for the Upper Midwest Chapter of the MS Society, said Harding has indicated a desire to take an active role in raising awareness once his season concludes.

“I think it’s incredibly inspiring for people who are familiar with MS, who are part of the MS community and for young people as well to know that there is somebody who is performing at a very high level in spite of a chronic disease,” Kucera said.

 

Chip Scoggins

ascoggins@startribune.com.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 14 1st Qtr 4:07
LA Clippers 12
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 2nd Half 1:00
Jacksonville 71
Kentucky 39 2nd Half 7:41
Louisville 33
Northern Ky 24 2nd Half
Northwestern 36
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
IUPUI 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Maryland
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 4th Qtr 10:35
Virginia Tech 30
(15) Arizona State 20 3rd Qtr
Duke 17
Miami-Florida 3 1st Qtr 7:56
So Carolina 0
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 26 2nd Half
Houston 29
BYU 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close