Rangers Boogaard dead at 28

Rangers Derek Boogaard and Maple Leafs Colton Orr fight during their game in Toronto on October 21,...

Rangers Derek Boogaard and Maple Leafs Colton Orr fight during their game in Toronto on October 21, 2010. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency Files)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 AM ET

Derek Boogaard, who spent six seasons in the National Hockey League, has been found dead. He was 28.

The New York Rangers, for whom the big winger played this past season, confirmed the tragedy late Friday night.

Cause of death has not been determined but, according to the New York Daily News, foul play is not suspected.

“Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual,” said president and general manager Glen Sather in a statement on the team’s website. “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.”

Though Boogaard was one of the most feared fighters in the NHL, he also had his charitable side. He founded “Boogaard’s Booguardians,” a program that hosted military members and their families at Rangers home games.

News of Boogaard’s passing was revealed by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune who reported that he was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment. Boogaard played his first five seasons with the Minnesota Wild, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2001.

“Unreal guy. Just a really big teddy bear,” former teammate and current Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom told Russo. “Outside the rink, he didn’t want bad for anyone.”

The Wild said in a statement: "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 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."

A native of Saskatoon, the 6-foot-7, 258-pound winger played in 277 NHL games, recording three goals, 13 assists and 589 minutes in penalties.


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