Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, according to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune. The 28-year-old Canadian netminder said that he's not planning to quit hockey, however.
"This is a little bump in the road," Harding told Russo. "I've had lots in life."
Harding was told he had MS, an autoimmune disease that attacks the nerves, a month ago, but kept the news to himself and his family. Wednesday, he let his friends and teammates know, as well as Wild coach Mike Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Harding has already begun treatment for the disease, and was cleared to skate again two weeks ago. His hope is that he can keep his career going and raise awareness of the illness. 25,000 Americans are diagnosed with MS every year.
In six seasons with Minnesota, Harding has played 117 games with 95 starts. Last season, he was the backup to Niklas Backstrom, but saw extensive playing time. He made 30 starts, the most in his career, and posted a 2.62 goals against average with a .917 save percentage, winning 13 games with two shutouts.
Harding was a 2002 second-round pick of the Wild and is a native of Saskatchewan.