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Another sad end: Rick Rypien found dead at age 27

Aug 15, 2011, 9:51 PM EDT

Rick Rypien AP

The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle reports that former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien was found dead at his Alberta home. Rypien was just 27 years old and had just signed a one-year, $700K contract with the Winnipeg Jets in June. His cousin Angela confirmed his death via two heartfelt Tweets.

It’s difficult not to think about Derek Boogaard’s untimely death when hearing about this news because both enforcers were very young and died just months apart (Boogaard died in May at the age of 28).

Details regarding his death have not been revealed yet, but Mirtle provided a brief update in this story.

Former Vancouver Canucks tough guy Rick Rypien was found dead by a family member on Monday in Crowsnest Pass, Alta.

Rypien, who signed with the Winnipeg Jets in July, had missed most of last season because of a leave of absence from the Canucks for personal issues.

Local RCMP told The Globe and Mail on Monday night that the death was not suspicious.

Update: Bob Addision of News 1130 reports that Rypien committed suicide (H/T to Greg Wyshynski), but that hasn’t been confirmed or denied by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police just yet. We’ll keep you informed as more details arrive, but until then, let’s take a quick look back at Rypien’s career.

Rypien played in 119 regular season games with the Canucks, scoring nine goals and seven assists for 16 points while racking up 226 penalty minutes. He played in 17 postseason games with Vancouver, collecting three assists and 43 PIM. He’s participated in 38 fights at the NHL-level (including preseason games), according to Hockey Fights.com. Sadly, many will remember him for his altercation with a Minnesota Wild fan, which earned him a six-game suspension. Rypien also took a leave of absence in November 2010 to try to deal with his personal issues.

If Rypien’s last name seems familiar to sports fans, it’s no accident. He’s the son of Wes Rypien, a former Canadian boxer and the cousin of Mark Rypien, an NFL quarterback who helped the Washington Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI.

Update: True North and the Winnipeg Jets released this statement about Rypien’s death.

“We are deeply saddened to confirm Rick’s passing. As many people are aware, he had strong ties to True North Sports & Entertainment, the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, the former Manitoba Moose Hockey Club and the Vancouver Canucks. We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Rypien family as well as Rick’s friends. We also appreciate all of the support that has come pouring in from Rick’s fans. Rick was a talented player with an extremely bright future. His hunger for the game made him a valued team member both on and off the ice. This loss has impacted us as more than just a hockey team.”

The Vancouver Canucks also released a statement about Rypien:

“It is with tremendous sadness that the Vancouver Canucks confirm the passing of Rick Rypien. Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks family for the past six years. Rick was a great teammate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time.”

Here’s a statement from NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr:

“All Players and NHLPA staff are saddened to learn of Rick’s passing. He was a respected member of our Association and will be greatly missed throughout the hockey community. Our sincere condolences go out to Rick’s family, friends and many fans.”

  1. trbowman - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Hearing it was a suicide…

    either way, it’s so terrible. RIP.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Is this concussion related? Man. Prayers to the Rypien family.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM

      I doubt it, I don’t think he has a history of concussions. Just an all-around sad story. My thoughts and prayers are with his family too

  3. raiderspride - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    The Canucks and the press kept the reasons for why he took leave of absense for personal issues out of the press. It was not known to many people. Fact is Rick’s best friend committed suicide in front of him. Rick was devastated by seeing this first hand. It was a horrible experience that haunted him.

    I am not shocked. Rick was troubled. I do not think this has anything to do with being punch drunk depression.

    God speed on your trip to heaven Rick.

  4. 8man - Aug 16, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    Torn in situations like this. As a pro athlete he had the resources to get the help he needed. While this is immensely saddening, clearly, if it is a suicide, he could have turned it around. There are millions around the globe with far less who have lived through much worse and they continue to persevere daily. I can’t shed the same tears here that I would for something such as a child with cancer.

    And I know I’m going to get pounded for this but just let me add I work for a company in the mental health field and the greatest threat we face is not the actual diagnosis but the failure of the individuals themselves to adequately address it despite full knowledge of it and lots of help to deal with it.

  5. spizzjr - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    I don’t think anything you’ve stated deserves a “pounding” 8man you can’t help those who don’t seek help although I am truly sad this happened

  6. realitylaura - Aug 17, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    For years I have hidden the fact that I have a mental illness and at times it is severe with negative and suicide idealiations. And this past six months after going for almost 11 years with people…knowing that I am high energya and a bit quirky and yeah crazy they say! But crazy they say in a good..good way!

    BUT! I am sort of dumbfounded by people’s lack of knowledge and ignorance on the subject! And people especially in the LIMELIGHT such as a reporter from CANADA who I found out actually THINKS that Americans have way more mental illness problems and take more anti-depressants than Canadians. And those statements are so extremely false and bogus!

    SO! I am going to try to somehow bring mental illness awareness to this sad and ignorant World we live in! And I hope to do it by humor which may or may not make sense. I am going to do stand up comedy..and it will have a lot to do with my mental illness and I will make fun of myself and the fact I am blond and also the fact that I hate men primarily! But not a lesbian yet!

    Tonight.. I am very. very mad! B.c. of perhaps.people that make a ton of money and they are not intelligent! And they are just fucking fucking LAZY! And they just….ummm say they cannot find information online! GIVE ME A FN BREAK! I spent a while..which was crazy to me. BUT I spent my time to send this guy the information in regards to mental illness because he is going to speak about the death of Rick. And he gave up! Just like that..on doing extra groundwork. It sickens me!

    SO! I sent him a long message and I was not happy but happy enough to inform him on the subject that unfortunately I happen to know too much on firsthand!

    And it is sick to me. that a link was broken! To a Canadian suicide hotline web site.TO ME that there is just wrong. I am an American. Yet I may… just get that link going again with my money. Money I do not have a lot of…Just to perhaps save a life.. would be worth the money to me!

    Some day. I will make it. And I stay alive due to family not really me.. per se. But I want to live. to write a book one day and not take my life..and to be a survivor of this horrible illness. I would rather have anything else wrong with me really than dealing with challenges on a daily basis.

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