A few days have passed since the untimely death of Derek Boogaard. It's still hard to fathom that the 28 year-old mammoth of a man who gave his heart and soul for his teammates, was discovered dead at his Minneapolis apartment by brothers Ryan and Curtis on Friday The 13th- sending shock waves throughout the hockey community.
The loss of a popular teammate and even better person away from the ice who devoted much of his time to charities helping soldiers and kids, is shocking. True enough, he last played a day after my birthday on Dec.9, 2010 sustaining a concussion and shoulder injury in a fight with Ottawa's Terry Carkner. The severity of the injuries forced him to miss the last 53 games. A disappointing first year on Broadway had him motivated to get into even better shape as he recovered from a fourth concussion. Boogaard was looking forward to working with Ranger trainer Reg Grant this summer to prove himself after inking a four-year $6.5 million contract last summer, departing Minnesota.
Instead, we're left with questions as to how The Boogeyman died. With homicide ruled out and no signs of a struggle, who knows what the cause of death was. Out of respect for a good man, we're not about to speculate. The autopsy should take several weeks along with toxicology reports. I'd rather not even think about it. A good person has left us way too soon and now it's time to mourn as the Wild organization did over the weekend thanks to a special memorial held in front of the Xcel Energy Center, organized over Facebook by big fans Katie Haag and Shelby Leske that included several former teammates along with the entire Boogaard family.
We devoted a whole page to Derek Boogaard on a six-year career that featured plenty of fisticuffs along with one awesome goal he scored at MSG against the Caps. I'm proud to say I was there along with Dad, Justin and Mike for that cool moment which snapped a 234-game drought. Even though they didn't win the game, Boogey won. That's all that mattered.
I wish there could be a moment of clarity. Unfortunately, when something like this happens, it makes you rethink things. The entire hockey community has come together, memorializing Boogaard's tragic death. Hopefully with his brain donated to BU, something good will come out of this. I'll always remember that cool No.94 Ranger jersey. The man had a sense of humor till the end.