What a Bad Offseason for Hockey

I’m in no way the first to say this, but what a crummy offseason it’s been for hockey. It seems like the perfect storm of tragedy and disappointment.

The first tragedy struck in early May (technically not offseason) when New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in his apartment. The late 28-year-old reportedly died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and a painkiller called oxycodone.

Winnipeg Jets enforcer Rick Rypien was found dead at his home in Alberta in mid-August. The cause of death was later reported to be a suicide. The 27-year-old Rypien battled depression during his NHL career, which was largely spent in Vancouver.

Long-time NHL tough guy Wade Belak took his own life in late August. Belak recently retired after a long career that started with the Colorado Avalanche. The late 35-year-old was a fan and locker room favorite.

The most recent tragedy came on September 7th when a plane carrying the KHL’s Lokomtiv team crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 43 people. Among those killed were former NHL players Pavol Demitra, Brad McCrimmon, Stefan Liv, Alexander Vasyunov and former Colorado Avalanche defensemen Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei. More details about the crash are still emerging.

As a hockey fan, these past few months have been very tough. There’s not a lot you can say about these tragedies. We can only wish the families, teammates, and friends of those lost well and keep them in our prayers.

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