The Parents of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard are suing the NHLPA for punitive damages and the remainder of Boogaard’s contract, totaling almost 10 million dollars. Half of that would come from the New York Rangers, which owe money on Boogaard’s contract. Boogaard died of a prescription drug overdose last summer. The lawsuit alleges that the Rangers and the Minnesota Wild were in part responsible for the enforcer’s death.
According to reports, Boogaard’s parents met with the NHLPA to discuss receiving payment for their son’s contract, but the union failed to file the claim in time. The suit filed in Los Angeles states,
“It is irrational for this union to believe that a grievance should not be filed over the nonpayment of the balance to one of its members’ S.P.C. when the union is aware that a team or teams bears responsibility for the player’s death,”
The lawsuit goes on to name the Wild and Rangers for prescribing the narcotics that ended the player’s life:
“At numerous times during his professional hockey career, to cope with injuries and pain and simply to be able to play or sleep after games, Derek Boogaard was prescribed or given a multitude of narcotics and sleeping pills by both the team doctors, physicians, trainers and dentists of the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild,”
Boogaard was also a part of the NHLPA’s substance abuse program and Boogaard’s father has asserted that the physician was aware of his son’s use of narcotics. There is a chance a larger suit could also be filed against the NHLPA. Boogaard was one of three enforcers to die last summer along with Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. The league may face other lawsuits in the future due to head injuries, and are still waiting for the Steve Moore–Todd Bertuzzi suit. This, of course, is during a league lockout.