MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Former Minnesota Wild forward Derek Boogaard was found dead in Minneapolis Friday night.
According to the Wild, the body of Boogaard, 28, was found in his apartment.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed that Boogaard’s body was found at 6:10 p.m. Friday. His cause of death remains under investigation by Minneapolis police, and the medical examiner’s office said Saturday that information on his death likely won’t be released for several weeks. WCCO-TV called the Boogaard’s family home in Canada on Saturday, and a person who answered said family members are on the way to Minnesota and could make a statement on Saturday.
Called the “Boogieman” by Wild fans, Boogaard was the team’s enforcer and crowd favorite before moving on to the New York Rangers.
Boogaard signed a four-year, $6.5 million deal with Rangers in July and appeared in 22 games with them last season. He had a goal and an assist to go with 45 penalty minutes.
One of the most feared fighters in the league, Boogaard missed the last 52 games of the regular season with a concussion and shoulder injury and did not play in the playoffs.
Boogaard began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 games with the Wild from 2005-10.
“The Minnesota Wild organization sends our deepest sympathies to the family of Derek Boogaard,” team said in a statement. “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.”
In 277 regular-season games with Minnesota and the Rangers over six seasons, he had three goals and 13 assists and 589 penalty minutes.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native was Minnesota’s seventh-round choice, 202nd overall, in the 2001 draft.
It is the second death of a player in the Rangers organization in the past three years. Alexei Cherepanov, chosen by New York with the 17th overall pick in the 2007 draft, died in Chekhov, Russia, on Oct. 13, 2008, after collapsing on the bench during a KHL game while playing with Avangard Omsk. The 19-year-old Cherepanov didn’t sign with the Rangers and never played in the NHL.
Roman Lyashenko, who briefly played with the Rangers several years ago, was found dead in a hotel room in Turkey while on vacation in 2003. His death was believed to be a suicide.
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