May 20, 2011, 1:54 PM EST
The hockey world mourned the death of New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard last Friday, whose passing blindsided people because he was just 28 years old. There was some speculation that an extensive history of concussions factored into his death, but it appears that was not the case. Michael Russo reports that Boogaard died from a toxic mixture of alcohol and oxycodone. (Oxycodone is a narcotic substance often used as a pain-killer for moderate to severe symptoms.)
It’s a sad story, no doubt, but hopefully fans will remember Boogaard for his charitable efforts and sense of humor rather than the way he died.
If you’d like to read more about Boogaard, here’s a collection of PHT content on the feared fighter.
- Our original report regarding his death also includes his last goal, which won Goal of the Night in November.
- Here’s a collection of Twitter updates and other reactions to his death from around the hockey world.
- Boogaard’s family will donate his brain to help research the effects of concussions.
- About 350 fans – plus members of the Wild organization – gathered to remember Boogaard at an informal memorial last Sunday.
- Fellow enforcer Georges Laraque wasn’t happy about the way the Rangers handled Boogaard’s passing.
Update: Boogaard’s family released the following statement through the NHL Players Association.
“We would like to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love and support for our family during this difficult period as we grieve the loss of Derek – our son and brother. We are deeply saddened by this unimaginable loss, but we are grateful for the expression of support that has given us strength as we go through this tragic time.
It is very comforting for our family to know that, while Derek’s life was far too short, he had a great impact on many people who he came into contact with. We are proud that Derek was able to live his boyhood dream to play in the National Hockey League. We are even more proud of the fact that Derek was dedicated to making a difference in his adopted communities of Minnesota and New York City, through his countless hours of charitable work.
Earlier today, we received the results of Derek’s toxicology report at the time of his accidental death. After repeated courageous attempts at rehabilitation and with the full support of the New York Rangers, the NHLPA, and the NHL, Derek had been showing tremendous improvement but was ultimately unable to beat this opponent. While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable.
Our family would like to like to thank the New York Rangers, the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and the National Hockey League for supporting Derek’s continued efforts in his battle.
Derek will be greatly missed and will never be forgotten by his fans, friends, and teammates, and especially by us – his family. We respectfully ask for continued privacy as we grieve the loss of Derek.”
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