For the hockey community, this feels like a death in the family.
New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard(notes) is gone, dead at 28, his brothers discovering his body in his Minneapolis apartment at 6:10 p.m. local time, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
Russo went on Sportsnet Radio in Toronto and passed on answering questions about the factors contributing to Boogaard's death — such as speculation regarding the serious concussion he suffered in a Dec. 9 fight with Matt Carkner(notes) of the Ottawa Senators that limited his first season with the New York Rangers to 22 games. (The fight is here.)
"He missed the entire second half with a concussion. But I think we should wait until the autopsy and we'll find out what happened," said Russo, who write that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct the autopsy on Saturday.
Russo's right: It's not a time for armchair neurology or psychology; it's a time for mourning, which is what Boogaard's fans, friends and peers in the NHL have been doing since the news broke on Friday night.
We received one such remembrance from a friend of Boogaard's that currently works for an NHL team:
I have known Derek for 7 years. I'm just really in shock right now. Derek was an amazing person always smiling and joking.
He was such a hard worker if there was an optional day Derek was always there. He thought all practices for him were mandatory. He never took for granted that he was an NHL player. He was really big into charities. Very outgoing. He had a really funny sense of humor. Always making people laugh or lightening the mood.
The funniest thing about Derek was after a game he would leave the arenas dressed like a school teacher with his sweater vests and glasses.
Coming up, a collection of reactions from Boogaard's teammates and opponents as they discovered the shocking news and relayed their condolences — including one from Brandon Prust(notes), who roomed with Boogaard with the Rangers.
Here are a series of tweet from NHL players on Friday night, from ex-pros to current stars.
Derek Boogaard was one of the most well-loved players in the brief history of the Minnesota Wild. The impact he had on this community reached far outside the boards of the Xcel Energy Center ice. Sure, he was a tough guy on the ice, but Boogaard's 24 jersey was one of the best selling in the NHL, covering the backs of hockey fans young and old.
In his charitable works, Boogaard reached out to those who asked, any and all. He supported kids stricken by terminal diseases at Children's Hospital, gave money, hockey equipment, time and visibility to the families of our country's armed forces.
Blue Line Station has some highlights from his time with the Rangers.
Meanwhile, some Wild fans are organizing a fan-led memorial service at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, May 15, from 6-9 p.m.
A friend and I decided we wanted to head down to the X on Sunday to have a little memorial for the late Derek Boogaard. We will be meeting at Gate 1 of the Xcel at 6PM Sunday night, the 15th. Please join us. This will be a time for mourning and remembrance of the great hockey player, and more importantly, man that we have lost. Feel free to bring photos, candles, and what have you.
The service is being organized on Facebook as well.
For a player who earned his pay by delivering big impacts during games, there's no question he also made one on hockey fans around the NHL. R.I.P., Boogeyman.