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Report: Derek Boogaard’s family files wrongful-death suit against NHL

May 12, 2013, 10:12 PM EDT

derekboogaardgetty Getty Images

Derek Boogaard’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL on Friday – almost two years after he died – the New York Times reports.

Boogaard was 28 when he died on May 13, 2011. Reports indicated that he died from a toxic mixture of alcohol and oxycodone.

The report provides more details about the suit:

It contends that the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that Boogaard sustained during six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers, and for the addiction to prescription painkillers that marked his final two years.

Here’s a little more from the family’s lawyer William Gibbs.

“To distill this to one sentence,” Gibbs said.  “You take a young man, you subject him to trauma, you give him pills for that trauma, he becomes addicted to those pills, you promise to treat him for that addiction, and you fail.”

The NHL declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Boogaard’s family also filed a suit against the NHLPA for $9.8 million in November, which was eventually dismissed.

You can read more about the suit in the New York Times report, including this statement from Gibbs:

“It’s easy to watch a game and see these guys as superhuman,” Gibbs said. “And they are not.”


Boogaard dealt with symptoms related to Alzheimer’s

Wild honored Boogaard in November 2011

His brother Aaron faced legal difficulties

  1. flyeredup - May 12, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    It will be dismissed.

    • drewsylvania - May 13, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      It shouldn’t be.

  2. betrayedbylife - May 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    very sorry his family had to suffer a loss and i don’t really think going after the nhl’s wallet will ease any pain. the reality is the nhl did not force him to mix alcohol and medication.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      You nailed it. Every man is responsible for his own decisions. I hate lawsuits like this. Money exchanging hands should not and would not alleviate the pain. If anything it would just be a reminder that they lost someone they loved.

  3. sjsharks66 - May 12, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    How did the NHL force him to brain trauma? He knew his job and enjoyed it. Also, how is it the NHL’s fault he became addicted?

    Im sorry for your loss but this is just a waste of time and money.

  4. gmenfan1982 - May 12, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    It was his choice to play a game that is physical and unfortunately he endured trauma from that. BUT, if you knew more about his addiction he was prescribed a ridiculous amount of pain medications by the Wild and Rangers team doctors. At times on 6 different medications at once.

    • drewsylvania - May 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      This is why the lawsuit should not be dismissed. There are some pretty f’ed up prescriptions there.

  5. jimw81 - May 12, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Did a federal court throw the NFL lawsuit out yet? No. This case and NFL case is going to set a precedence in sports. The only thing difference is NFL has actually has rules and addressing the concussion issue and the only thin NHL has done is create web videos explaining you why this player is suspended and a player still is suffering symptoms of concussion. Look at Eric Lindros and Chris Pronger.

    • esracerx46 - May 13, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      Really? The only thing the NHL has done is create videos? By your grammar and moronic statement, my guess is you have taken a similar concoction of pain killers and alcohol as Boogaard. The NHL has made it very clear they want to eliminate all hits to the head. Just look at the Gryba suspension. Also, the NHL protocol for players suspected of concussions is more in depth than the NHL sideline concussion test. Players are removed from the bench and taken into a room for a certain amount of time, most of the time that players night is over.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      The NFL lawsuit is different as well because it’s based upon team doctors telling players they were okay to play with concussions despite knowing otherwise.

  6. esracerx46 - May 13, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    This lawsuit really irks me. One, because sueing the league that made the guy millions doesn’t solve anything. Two, because the day after getting out of drug rehab, Boogaards little brother admitted to giving Derek oxycodone before they went clubbing. The only reason Aaron wasn’t charged is that Derek had gave the pills to Aaron before rehab and a judge ruled Aaron was merely returning Derek’s property once he had gotten out. I hope this gets thrown out. I’m sorry for your loss but being ignorant is grounds for sueing a third party.

  7. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 13, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Boogaard suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.) Many other athletes were diagnosed with CTE, and died from this disease. If you are inclined to learn more about the causes and effects of this debases you may want to watch Head Games. It might change your perception of the famlies actions. Head Games is directed by Academy Award winner Steve James (Hoop Dreams, 1994), is a documentary examining the concussion crisis in America, focusing on the seriousness of head injuries sustained in football, ice hockey and women’s soccer. It is titled after and based off of the book of the same name by Christopher Nowinski, former Harvard football player and professional wrestler turned concussion activist.

  8. jakreidler - May 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    If the family makes it about the team/league expecting him to fight often thus leading to his brain trauma, I can totally see the NHL settling to avoid bad press.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 13, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      What’s the difference between a coach asking a guy to fight, and a coach asking a guy to block a shot from the point? Both are dangerous and if one guy wont do it, another guy will. I don’t see how they think the NHL is responsible here. Just my opinion.

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