The Minnesota Wild have placed goalie Josh Harding on injured reserve while he makes an adjustment to his multiple sclerosis treatment.
The net minder ranks first in the NHL in goals-against average (1.51) and shutouts (3), and is second in wins (18) and save percentage (.939). While those numbers would be stellar for any goalie, it’s even more unbelievable due to his diagnosis, which he went public with in November 2012. The disease has a range of symptoms, which can be anywhere from mild (numbness of the limbs) to severe (loss of vision, paralysis). Despite no cure and the unpredictability of symptoms, Harding has outplayed fellow Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, and forced his way into the conversation to be one of Team Canada’s Olympic hopefuls.
Even with the minor setback, his narrative transcends hockey and has become a widespread feel-good story that includes Harding campaigning for MS awareness. Harding isn’t the first pro goalie to play through the disease, however. Jordan Sigalet was a Hobey Baker finalist at Bowling Green in 2005, and went on to a successful minor league career with Providence after being diagnosed with MS.
The Wild currently reside in fourth place in the Central Division. They are also tied for eighth in the Western conference at 20-11-5, largely due to Harding’s breakout season. He has already logged career highs with his win and shutout totals and is on track to top his career-best of 34 games played and 1,571 minutes played.