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Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 8:17 pm
BOSTON --- New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was remembered less as a bruising enforcer and more for his less-fierce, kind demeanor off the ice by some of his former teammates.

“He’s not at all what people would think from watching him play hockey,” said Tampa Bay forward Dominic Moore, who played two seasons with Boogaard when they were teammates on the Minnesota Wild. “I always thought he was a real gentleman. He was a thoughtful, smart guy and a good person.”

Boogaard, 28, was found dead by family members on Friday, although the cause of death was not immediately determined. An official with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office told that the results of the autopsy conducted Saturday will not be released for a couple weeks as toxicology and other lab tests are conducted.

A moment of silence was observed before the start of the opener at TD Garden, although a few fans yelled out "Boo" in recognition of the late player's nickname.

News spread among Boogaard’s current and former teammates via text message hours before the story was reported late Friday night. 

“I was waiting (for the reports) to come out,” said Boston Bruins forward Shane Hnidy, who also played with Boogaard in Minnesota. “Eventually, they did. It’s a terrible loss. He’s still a young man.”

Boogaard, a 6-foot-7 bruiser known more for is fists than his scoring, was described as a gentle person off the ice. The last time Hnidy talked to him, Boogaard had just signed a four-year, $6.5 million deal with the New York Rangers last offseason.

Boogaard, however, missed the second half of the season after a concussion. He had suffered at least two other concussions during his NHL career, which began in Minnesota in 2005-06.

“You just see him as this big, tough guy,” Hnidy said. “He’s a great guy. He’s always having fun. I’m going to remember him more for (what happened) behind the scenes. He was a guy who gave back to the community. Where things went from there, I’m not sure.”

Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson, who played with the Wild during Boogaard's rookie season, recalled Boogaard work ethic as well. 

“He was an awesome guy in the room,” Roloson said (via WEEI-AM). “I remember when he first broke in, every day he came in to work hard, and he wanted to get better. He wanted to make it to the NHL and prove every person out there that said he couldn’t make it wrong. He worked hard every every day on and off the ice. He was one of those guys that was the first on and last off, had that type of attitude to get better, and obviously he succeeded.”

Earlier Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement:

“The news that we have lost someone so young and so strong leaves everyone in the National Hockey League stunned and saddened. The NHL family sends its deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Derek Boogaard, to those who played and worked with him and to everyone who enjoyed watching him compete."

UPDATE: Here's some reaction from some of his Rangers teammates via a statement from the club:

Marian Gaborik:
“I found out immediately, like right was late at night here...I couldn't believe it. It was weird because I just couldn't believe it. It's really sad, a young guy like that.”

“It was devastating news. I played with Boogey for a long time in Minny and then in New York. He was a great guy. We got along together great. We helped each other out on the ice and off the ice. We were very close. I tried to help him along in New York, and we had a very good relationship. It's just very sad.”

“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.”

“He was a year younger than me, and you could see that he improved so much. But he always was such a calm guy, got along with everybody. We had a lot of good times together. He was a really easy going guy, really caring. We talked pretty much about everything. He's just the type guy who would be there for you whenever you needed him”

“We spoke before the World Championships. We were in touch a lot. He was focusing on coming back, training every day. He was really looking forward to coming back in great shape and prove that he's the best at what he does. He was really looking forward to that. He was always so positive and optimistic. “

New York Rangers Captain Chris Drury:
"On behalf of all Derek's teammates, I would like to say that he was a great friend and a great teammate and that we are all going miss him dearly. This is a tragic loss for the hockey community. All of our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family"

Brandon Prust:
“I am still in shock. It keeps hitting me off and on all day as I'm driving home. Though he was a fighter on the ice, he was definitely a gentle giant off the ice. He was just a real good guy, a team guy all the way. I've been looking at some of the silly pictures I have from when we were roommates and it just hits me what a good guy he was. I still can't believe I am referring to him in the past tense.”

Brian Boyle:
“He was a great person. He really was. He was such a caring guy, an unselfish guy. He put himself in front of bullets for the guys. I had some great talks and great laughs with him in our car rides into the city. I will remember him fondly, and I think we all will. There are so many great things Boogey brought to our team and to our lives. For however long you knew him, it was a blessing because on the ice he was an amazing teammate, and off the ice he was an even better friend.”

Sean Avery:
“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.”

-- A.J. Perez
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posted on: May 16, 2011 2:33 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

Awful, damn I can't even find the words....that poor family.....

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:18 am

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

Sad day in the NHL. 28 is too young for anybody to go.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: May 16, 2011 8:15 am

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

@ Digglers Wigglers...Keep the faith, there`s hope.Just watch that UFC stuff.Years ago,when "me and the boys" were still young and looking for something violent, like you, to watch on tv,we noticed this new thing with NO rules, other than kicking a guy in the gonads.It came on late at night,like basketball used to(and still should).It was before they aired it with any time delay.We watched some guy from one of those "Vakian" countries from somewhere in Europe, die right there,before our eyes on tv.Brain anurism.Punched and kicked repeatedly in the head,went down,bounced back up,ready for more,than just dropped dead right in front of everyone.Right there on tv.Keep the faith brother,you may get to watch a death like that yet.As for hockey ? We`ve been watching that for decades and never DID feel the need to watch a fight.We`d watch Ali and Fraser,etc,etc, box.Speaking of which,how`d that repeated blows to the head thing you miss work out for Ali ? 

Since: Mar 12, 2009
Posted on: May 15, 2011 2:56 am

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

From A Die Hard Bruins Fan, my heart goes out to his family. I was at work when a fellow B's fan text me with this terrible news.... NHL fans 1st and foremost can put the teams colors aside for a moment to recognize Boogaards talent, and his off ice mannerisms. 
One day at a time is all we have
R.I.P. Boo !!!! 

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2011 8:47 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

Another one of the more feared guys in the game who was a total gentleman off the ice.  The enfircers get a bad rap about the fighting, but they are just godd team guys doing a very hard job.

28 is just too damned young for anybody to die.


Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2011 8:42 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

i think the good lord has his enforcers now......Probert and Boogaard....#24 will be forever a Wild player and will be missed here in Minnesota...

Since: Sep 1, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2011 6:20 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

This very sad but if it turns out it was concussion related I hope the NHL doesn't go overboard and weaken the game by playing European style hockey.Most fans don't want to see a soft game. They have initiated enough rule changes this year pertaining to head shots.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2011 5:32 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

Unbelievable loss, such a young age.  Boogie will be missed.

Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2011 4:28 pm

Former teammates mourn loss of Boogaard

That is F%cked UP!!!!! I loved waiting and watching each time i got to watch his team play. The fighting has been down since the Probert, Domi, Mcsorley, Kocur, and Grimson days so waiting for the "true"heavy weights to square off and go was a treat in hockey i can't watch one of my favs.....first Proby and now him!!! VERY SAD!!!

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