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

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close