ME: Boogaard Died From Drug, Alcohol Mix

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death of former Minnesota Wild forward Derek Boogaard as accidental, saying he died from a mix of alcohol and oxycodone toxicity.

Boogaard, 28, was found dead in his downtown Minneapolis apartment on May 13. It happened five months after a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers.

He began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 games with the Wild from 2005-10.

One of the most feared fighters in the league, he was called the “Boogieman” by Wild fans and was the team’s enforcer and crowd favorite before moving on to the New York Rangers last season.

During his time with the NHL, Boogaard suffered considerably from concussions and sat out most of last season because of it.

Boogaard’s family admitted he struggled with addiction. In a statement they released late Friday afternoon, they said they had seen the Medical Examiner’s report.

“After repeated courageous attempts at rehabilitation and with the full support of the New York Rangers, the NHLPA, and the NHL, Derek had been showing tremendous improvement but was ultimately unable to beat his opponent,” his family said. “While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable.”

Oxycodone is a powerful, pain-relieving drug that is very addictive. When mixed with alcohol, it can become lethal.

“It’s a very risky proposition, mixing any kind of narcotic with any kind of alcohol,” said Carol Falkowski with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. “Both of them are strong depressant drugs, and both of them can surpress breathing, so taken in combination, it can really have unanticipated effects.”

After his death, Boogaard’s family donated his brain to medical researchers in Boston for further study on head trauma injuries.

Family, friends and teammates held a public memorial for him at the Xcel Energy Center on May 15. They want people to remember him, they said, as the person he was off the ice.

A funeral has been planned for Saturday at 10 a.m. in Regina, Saskatchewan. The funeral will be held at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Depot and is open only to family and close friends. The public will be invited to watch the service from a video feed in an adjacent chapel.

See Slideshow Of Boogaard’s Time On Ice

  • Good Ol Boy

    Alcohol and Percocet. I had a ton of sports-related head injuries and Percocet is hugely prescribed for post-concussive symptoms, as well as for vertigo. It’s soooo sooo important people don’t consume ANY alcohol while on narcotic pain killers!! It’s just not worth it. I’d rather skip the Percocet and drink the beers than take a chance with that stuff. Such a sad story. A great guy gone too soon.

  • Jeff

    RIP Boogie we’ll miss you:(

  • Mr. Mark

    that sucks, had a feeling though, not too many other reasons for an otherwise healthy 28 year old to die

  • Hank

    Thought he was such a great guy. If so, why the violence?

  • Good Ol Boy

    What violence, Hank?

  • Hank's Husband

    Hank is referring to the bananna peels that those monkeys left under the car wheels…

  • st paul

    I heard from someone he was drinking that prior night… I guessed it.

    Pretty sad…

    • factdealer

      You heard he was drinking the prior night , and? so im gonna die 2day because i drank last night, brilliant

      • grubber

        Doesn’t matter, tomorrow is doomsday…Drink it up!

        • Steve

          Actually that guy did not include the decimal places in his doomsday calculations, so it will actually happen about an hour later than he predicts.

      • st paul

        Well, considering he was out for injury? common sense man. You think you just don’t take any pills when recovering? Use your head.

        • be afraid

          his injury occured over 6 months ago he was prolly hooked on painkillers, thats what weak people do they get hooked on painkillers usually long after they’re pain is gone, not saying that was the case for sure, but that is why i never fill painkiller meds when i get them. Don’t want 2 become an addict. Take heavy doses of aspirin, you’l l be better off

          • m

            tasteless comment Be afraid!!! Good for you for taking aspirin, maybe you’ll die of a bleeding ulcer! Weak people don’t get hooked, anyone can have phatom pain and if Boogy has had that many concussions I’m sure his head hurt like hell!

          • Karen

            Heavy doses of aspirin can be as (or even more) dangerous than narcotics!

            • be afraid

              And how many people are overdosing mixing aspirin with alcohol, how many people steal aspirin like they do painkillers. So “m” strong willed people get hooked on painkillers, blah blah, these heavy painkillers are as addictive as meth, and heroin. Also ‘m” il die of a bleeding ulcer but only if you promise to keep taking painkillers til you o.d.-winner

          • Todd Oesterreich

            Ever have a kidney stone?

            • factdealer

              Yes and id hardly consider vicodin even a painkiller anymore, its no stronger than handful of asprin, i took vicodin for 2 days then stopped after passing stone, 0 challenge in throwing the rest of bottle out, and a kidneystone is as painful as any injury

  • Tizzer

    RIP Boogieman! You were a great player and you will be missed :O(

  • TS

    My favorite gentle giant. RIP Boogaard. You will be missed everyday.

  • red

    factdealer, what a dumb thing to say, you most likely aren’t on narcotics

  • Mike

    He was a good hockey player, but obviously an idiot when it came time to living life responsibly. How many deaths does it take to understand, you don’t mix alcohol with drugs?

  • Jim2E

    Accident? Really?…Suicide?, a non-issue?! It’s hard for me to believe that he was not incredibly depressed. The pieces fit. Concussions destroyed him.
    Terribly sad. RIP Derek Boogaard. My thoughts go out to the Boogaard family. He will never be forgotten. Because he created a character, he created his dream, he lived his dream, although for way too short of time.

  • Angela J

    Oh Boogu! Really? We all loved you so! Kids loved you! Our hearts are broken!!

  • AJ


    How dare you say Boogey was an idiot when it came to living responsibly? Obviously you didn’t read the same news everyone else did, which it was ruled accidental and not suicide, otherwise you wouldn’t have said that. So who is the real idiot here? It ain’t Boogey, it’s you!

    RIP Boogey, we love you and will always miss you!

    • Mike


      Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with a narcotic pain medicine. The only reason the Medical Examiner’s Office could make that statement is they have no reason to suspect suicide because they did not find large amounts ingested and no indication that it was intentional. It wasn’t accidental that he had both substances in his system at the same time, it was irresponsibility that led to his early death. I too will miss his great hockey ability.

  • Meep

    Sooo sad! This is an all too-powerful reminder of why it is CRITICAL to read and actually FOLLOW the instructions & warning on all prescriptions. We all think the ” no alcohol” wanings don’t apply to us, but they truly do.

  • unknown

    Damn drugs it says right on the bottle NO BOOZE with oxycodone

  • ZH

    Boogaard would have had to take an extremely large dose in addition to a lot of alcohol to reach fatal levels. Unfortunately, this is not simply a case of not reading lables. Hopefully some good can come out of this in raising awareness of prescription medication abuse and addiction.

    • Me

      I wouldn’t classify this as abuse but ignorance. It sounds like it was a legit prescription and he didn’t heed the warning to abstain alcohol.

      All in all, too tragic and very unfortunate.

      • zh

        It certainly is abuse. If it is not taken as prescribed, it is drug abuse. Although it might have been a legit prescription, he obviously did not use it as the doctor intended. There is no way he was taking it as prescribed, had a couple of beers, and died. Expecially a man his size would have had to take excessive amounts to reach a lethal amount.

        Also, the way he died does not take away from the by all accounts good person that he was. But it is important to look at the reality of the situation. Prescription drug deaths now account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine.

    • Karen

      Sorry ZH, but you are terribly mistaken. It doesn’t have to be a large dose of either narcotics or alcohol. Just the combination of the two in normal amounts can cause death. Please be careful what you say. Someone could certainly read that and think it is ok to take narcotics and alcohol together as long as it isn’t a “large dose” as you stated.

      • Betty

        Judging by all the comments on here, there sure are a lot of Doctors and Pharmacists leaving their expert medical opinions on here, Karen and ZH!

        • Karen

          Betty, actually I am not a medical doctor or a pharmacist. I am a physician’s assistant and I have full prescribing rights.

  • Pork Chop Guy

    Sad story. It is hard to determine if this was an accident or a suicide. I guess the lack of a note is the reason medical examiner chooses accident. Impossible to determine his intent that night unless further evidence turns up.
    In the end it doesn’t matter. I did not follow Boogaard personally, but from the articles written about him he sounded like a great teammate and nice guy.

  • melanie

    Its not necessarily true that he had to take a bunch to overdose… This drug is so addictive it doesnt take much and if your on it for a long period of time you have to keep taking me and more. A buddy if mine was hurt really bad in a snowmobile accident and hes on oxycodone and its a bad deal.

  • Ashley

    Seriously people GROW UP….Boogaard tragically lost his life, it was ruled an accident. So stop with all of the ridiculous accusations…There would have been outrageous amounts of narcotics in his system had he been trying to commit suicide…He was trying to recover from a concussion, which those who have had one know they can cause excruciating headaches, meaning powerful pain meds needed for him to be able to bear the pain…He was NOT an IDIOT by any means, there are plenty of people out there who drink on meds that are not supposed to, and unfortunately God wanted to take his ANGEL home a little too soon. So STOP with the judgments. It’s clear who the real IDIOTS are on here, and it’s also very clear which people on here have never gone through the pain of losing someone special, Whether they were a loved one or a public figure. Think before you post hurtful comments people, especially because his family may be reading this. I’m sure they are hurting enough and don’t need to read childish comments like these to make it worse. Boogaard was a phenomenal human being and an outstanding HOCKEY PLAYER that sure knew how to ROCK the ICE!! I will be your #1 fan always and will forever miss you Boogey!! ~ R.I.P Angel~…#24 ~FOREVER~!!!

    • Mike


      Powerful narcotics and alcohol should not be used together for good reason. I do believe it was an accident. and not intentional, but their is no excuse for a lack of judgement and mixing the lethal combination. He was a great hockey player and his life was cut short by his lack of judgement. It was idiotic. That does not make him an idiot.
      I am confused about your statement acknowledging God taking him home. I never considered death as the ultimate blessing or never attended a funeral where everyone celebrated. I thought blessings were reserved for good things, and find incredible irony when explaining a tragedy.

      • Karen

        I understand the comment about God taking him home. Heaven is our final destination. Death WILL be an ultimate blessing because the Bible says we will have no pain, no suffereing, no more problems. The funerals I attended as a kid were full of doom and gloom. Most of the funerals I have attended as an adult were celebrations of life. That’s what I want my funeral to be.

        You are right about calling his use of narcotics and alcohol in combination idiotic. When are people going to understand that you can’t mix the two?

  • Mn Football fan

    Very sad loss. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Elizabeth

    You know, it’s bad enough that you people posting comments are insensitive and cruel with your statements – but I’m appalled also at the dreadful abuse of the English language! Don’t people learn how to spell, punctuate, put together a coherent sentence any more?? Ever hear of the word “proofread”? Then again, I guess if you don’t recognize stupidity, even proofreading isn’t going to help a lot. Have some compassion, people!!

    • Mama J

      I would like to start off by saying, Boogaard will be deeply missed and never forgotten,
      Who do you think you are? . You talk about compassion? but you dont have any compassion either. If you did, you would just say, Something heartwarming and not call names or talk down to people. No one is perfect and that means you as well. A man is no longer with us and You seem to be more concerned about typos,written mistakes and pointing out someones shortcomings. Shame on you. Does hurting a few peoples feeling or trying to make them feel stupid, make you feel better. I pray for you and wish you a peaceful life. . I really hope that Boogaard’s family never sees any of these horrible and judgmental posts.

  • blubberdong

    You’re all a bunch of slaves. Useless, opinionated, self-righteous slaves.

    You’re also terrible at reading comprehension, spelling, and grammar.

    RIP Boogie.

    • U R Useless

      Blubberdong R U looking in a mirror ??????????????

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