Derek Boogaard Passes Away at Age 28, Leaving Behind a Legacy of Giving

Jim Neveau, NHL Correspondent

Friday night may not have seen any action on the ice in the NHL, but unfortunately there was news off of it. Derek Boogaard, a 28-year old forward for the New York Rangers, was found dead in his apartment in Minneapolis. His death shocked the hockey world, and elicited an outpouring of grief from teammates and fellow players.

Players from Paul Bissonnette to Scottie Upshall immediately took to Twitter to express condolences to Boogaard’s family, and their expressions of compassion underscored just how deeply respected the noted tough guy was off the ice. Known in hockey circles as a tough guy who was more prone to dropping his gloves than using them to score, he was even better known for his charity work off the ice, and that’s how he deserves to be remembered.

Here is Rangers General Manager Glen Sather’s statement on the passing of Boogaard:

“Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual. He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time.”

The Minnesota Wild, the team that drafted Boogaard in 2001, also issued a statement, saying:

“The Minnesota Wild organization sends our deepest sympathies to the family of Derek Boogaard. Derek was a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Wild and he will be greatly missed here in Minnesota and throughout the NHL. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boogaard family during this tragic time of loss.”

Boogaard was extremely active with various charities, including Defending the Blue Line, a group dedicated to helping the children of members of the armed forces play the game. His picture is emblazoned on the front page of the group’s website, and was listed as an All-Star Most Valuable Partner, the highest distinction that the group has for donors.

Boogaard was also involved in several other groups, including his own Boogaard’s Booguardians, which hosted military families at Rangers home games. He also was active in the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a children’s charity run by the Rangers, New York Knicks, and several other entities involved with Madison Square Garden.

All of us at The Hockey Writers would like to express our condolences to the Boogaard family, and all those close to Derek who are suffering right now because of his sudden passing. We would also like to encourage our readers to take Derek’s life as an example, and donate time and money to either the charities that he championed, or to organizations in your area in his honor.

James Neveau

James Neveau

James started out for The Hockey Writers covering the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, and has also covered the Chicago Blackhawks, served as NHL Correspondent, and is now a Managing Editor and the site's NHL Central Blogger. He also writes for The Golf Writers.

3 Comments

  1. David Seder says:

    If my memory serves me correstly,Derek was injured in a fluke type situation in a fight with Matt Carkner.Derek pretty much slipped and landed on his head,with the 250 lb Carkner landing on top of him.It was a fluke injury,it wasnt a punch that did it.Toughness has been a part of Hockey for as long as I can remember.The league has done a good job legislating against boarding and hits to the head,along with cheap shots.Rather than do away with “toughness” I’d prefer to see repeat offenders like Matt Cooke thrown out of the league.Keep the tough guys and get rid of the cheap shot artists.

  2. David, it is the day after and you are already speculating on cause of death? Stop being so god damn partisan with someones life. Way more people (including players) love the toughness of the sport and Mr.Boogaard would have been the first to tell you about it. There are way more deaths caused by construction accidents than due to the toughness of hockey; so I’m awaiting your half baked reasoning for why we need to stop construction because of the dangerousness of the job. I’m sure you jumped to conclusions with Alexei Cherepanov’s death too, it wasn’t from a medical condition but purely by the violence of the game? Your types make me sick, stay out of hockey conversations when you are clearly using them to get up on your morality high horse.
    RIP Derek Boogaard.

  3. David Robinson says:

    RIP Derek Boogaard.

    Of course, the cumulative effects of head trauma are the first thing that come to mind for me in this instance but we’ll have to wait and see. This is becoming far too common and if CTE is determined to be the cause then it’s yet another reason why the NHL must be dragged out of its archaic mentality and culture as it relates to “toughness”.

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