An NHL goalie dealing with Multiple Sclerosis is hoping a special hockey card will give hope to others battling the disease.
Josh Harding is a goalie for the Minnesota Wild who was diagnosed in November, 2012. In his first game back post-diagnosis that season, Harding faced the Dallas Stars and stopped all 24 shots for a 1-0 shootout win. He was named winner of the 2012-2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. To pay tribute to Harding’s courage in the face of such adversity, Upper Deck has created a Harding hockey card for its “Heroic Inspirations” program. Harding has autographed and inscribed them and the cards have been randomly inserted into the newly-released 2014-15 NHL O-Pee-Chee packs.
According to Upper Deck, which makes the OPC brand, the goal of the card is “to give people suffering from MS hope and to raise awareness for Josh Harding’s charity; Harding’s Hope”.
A total of 25 of the autographed cards have been placed into packs. Harding has inscribed the cards “My inspiration is my father.” Harding has signed and inscribed other versions of the card mentioning others who inspire him. These additional autographed and inscribed cards will be available with donation to the charity through the Harding’s Hope website at the start of the 2014-15 NHL season.
“I’m excited for Upper Deck to join my team to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis and to raise funds for people living with MS,” Harding stated. “The more I learn about MS, the more I realize how important it is to have a team. The point of adding inscriptions to the cards is to share that you cannot fight MS alone, you need to look for inspiration from your team. I’m hopeful that by sharing some of my inspirations on these new Upper Deck cards, I can help others stay positive and find inspiration.”
“Not only is Josh Harding an incredible player, he has transcended the game by performing at a high level while being challenged by symptoms of the disease,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “Harding serves as an inspiration and people marvel at his accomplishments. We hope that hockey fans and fans of Josh’s story will want to collect his autographed and inscribed ‘Heroic Inspirations’ cards. He truly is an inspiration who has an incredible story of courage, hope and perseverance to share.”
Upper Deck has produced other “Heroic Inspirations” cards in the past for other inspirational athletes. Harding’s card is the first in the series that features an autograph from the athlete and an inscription.
2014-15 OPC hockey is available in some hobby shops and on eBay.