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Remembering New York Rangers Player Derek Boogaard

Sarah Sotoodeh |
May 23, 2011 | 4:36 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Boogard was known for being positive on and off the ice. (Creative Commons)
Boogard was known for being positive on and off the ice. (Creative Commons)
The entire hockey community is mourning the loss of New York Rangers Derek Boogaard, who was found dead on May 13 in his apartment. 

His death has been ruled accidental, caused by the mixture of oxycodone pain killers and alcohol. 

He was 28.

His family issued a statement in light of the tragedy. 

“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.”

Boogaard missed the last 52 games of the season because of a concussion he sustained in December against the Ottawa Senators.

Fellow teammates, peers and fans remember not only his greatness on the ice but his devotion to charitable causes.

“As a person he was a great one.  He was a caring guy, an unselfish guy.  He would put himself in front of bullets for the guys. I will remember all the things he brought to our team and brought to our lives.  However long you knew him, it was a blessing.  On the ice he was an amazing teammate, off the ice he was an even better friend,” teammate Brian Boyle told newyorkrangers.com.

Boogard supported the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the Defending the Blue Line Foundation, which gives military kids the chance to be able to play hockey.

He also formed the “Boogaard’s Booguardians,” to help military families attend Ranger games.

“He was one of the very best at what he did.  Every team would have loved to have him, whether on the ice or off the ice as a great teammate,” Marian Gaborik said to newyorkrangers.com.

Boogaard was born on June 23, 1982 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

The 6-foot-7-inch left-winger was drafted by Minnesota in the 2001 NHL draft. 

He played from 2005 to 2010 with the Wild and began his journey with the Rangers in the summer of 2010. 

During the 2010-11 season, Boogaard played 22 games until he was sidelined with his injury.

Although Boogaard was taken before his time, his impact on the sport and the hockey community will never be forgotten.

“As big of a man as Derek was, his heart was even bigger.  I hope that his family, friends and most importantly, those who didn’t know him, understand what a great teammate he was and how much he meant to us all,” teammate Sean Avery said on the Rangers website.

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Reach Sarah by email.



 

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