The sudden passing of New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard is a tremendous loss to the hockey community as a whole, as well as our rivals across the bridge. Boogaard was just 28 years old and was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment on Friday.
Boogaard was a well-liked and respected grinder for the Rangers and Minnesota Wild. In 277 NHL games, Boogaard had three goals and was best known as one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. He missed the final 52 games of the 2011 NHL season with a concussion suffered in a fight on the ice in December.
The Rangers released a statement remembering Derek Boogaard as a “kind and caring individual” and a “thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all who knew him”. N.H.L.P.A. executive director Don Fehr remembered Boogaard as a well-liked representative of the players’ association. Former teammate Niklas Backstrom called Boogaard “a big teddy bear”.
It’s hard to separate the intimidating presence on the ice from the personality off the ice, but it’s important to put hockey rivalries in perspective in times like these. The Rangers lost a friend and a teammate, and the hockey community lost a key member.
We wish our sincerest condolences to the Rangers, the Boogaard family, and the friends he left behind.