Awful news coming out of Minneapolis tonight. New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in his apartment by members of his family. He was only 28 years old. The 6’8, 260 pound forward was signed to a head-scratching 4-year contract last offseason to provide a physical presence and to protect goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Boogaard was born in Saskatchewan on June 23, 1982 and made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild during the 2005-06 season. Over the years, he built a reputation around the league as one of the toughest players in the game, racking up penalty minutes like they were going out of style. He only played in 22 games this year with the Rangers due to being a healthy scratch and being injured.
A 7th round pick of Minnesota back in 2001, he played in 277 games and collected 589 penalty minutes and picked up 3 goals and 13 assists. Boogaard ended a long scoring drought earlier in the year with a slapshot missile on an odd-man rush against the Washington Capitals.
The man we called “Boogey Man” was taken from this earth far too early and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and everyone who knew him. It’s too soon to speculate what the cause of death was, so as days progress, we should learn more about what exactly happened. This is the second death of a player in the organization in recent memory. Top Russian prospect Alexei Cherepanov died during a game in his native country a couple of years back.
Whenever something tragic like this happens, it really puts things in perspective in what’s important in life. Players and fans alike love the game of hockey, but it’s still just a game. I hope Blueshirts Nation gathers together to honor Mr. Boogaard and support his family and friends in this time of need.