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Rangers forward Derek Boogaard passes away at 28

TSN.ca Staff

5/14/2011 11:28:59 AM

New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard has died.

Minneapolis Star Trbune's Michael Russo first reported the news on Twitter Friday evening, saying the 28-year-old was found dead in his apartment by his family. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office in Minnesota confirmed those details and said an autopsy was pending.

"Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual," Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather said in a release.  "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."

The Wild learned the tragic news of the death and released a statement on Boogaard's passing.

"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."

Boogaard began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 career games with the Wild from 2005-06 and 2009-10. He joined the Rangers on July 1, 2010, appearing in 22 games in the 2010-11 season.

"The news that we have lost someone so young and so strong leaves everyone in the National Hockey League stunned and saddened," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. "The NHL family sends its deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Derek Boogaard, to those who played and worked with him and to everyone who enjoyed watching him compete."

"The NHLPA is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Derek Boogaard," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement. "Derek was a well-liked and respected member of the NHLPA, and his passing is a great loss to the entire hockey community.  Our sincere condolences to Derek's many friends and family during this difficult time."

Throughout his career, Boogaard sought to make a difference in the communities he played in, taking part in numerous charitable endeavors.  Boogaard was a supporter of the Defending the Blue Line Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation whose mission is to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the great sport of hockey.  While with the Rangers, he created "Boogaard's Booguardians," hosting military members and their families at all New York Ranger home games. 

In addition, he made multiple appearances with partner organizations of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment and Fuse "to make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles."

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native was originally Minnesota's seventh round choice, 202nd overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.