|Graphic courtesy of ESPN|
The NYP further reports that Boogaard had an unremarkable season prior to sitting out after suffering from a concussion in a fight with Matt Carkner of the Ottawa Senators on December 9th. The Star (Toronto) spoke to Boogaard's close friend and fellow [former] NHL heavyweight Georges Laraque who told them Boogaard had been cleared from that injury and back training. There is no evidence that this could be a cause for his death. Larague planned to do some fight training with Boogaard this summer to help him get ready for the next season.
“He felt a lot of pressure and he was obviously really frustrated with his last fight that caused him a concussion, and that’s why he really wanted to come back stronger than ever,” said Laraque in a phone interview. “He’s the toughest guy in the league, right. There’s pressure that comes with that. But he was ready to take it.”Today, Laraque dedicated a 42 km run to Derek then set out to "re-tweet" all the touching tributes posted on Twitter for him.
Here's our Montreal-New York team mission accomplish for everyone, Derek I did all the 42km for you!
This has been news for a little bit today, but it's the first time I've been online and Twitter was just overwhelming with tweets about the death of NY Rangers enforcer, Derek Boogaard.
I was shocked as I'm sure everyone else is. Boogaard was found last night in his Minnesota apartment by his brothers, Ryan and Aaron. There has been no further information about his death and early reports say that an autopsy is being conducted but the results will not be released for at least two weeks.
He is survived by two brothers, his sister Krysten, and mother and father (Joanne and Len). He was only 28.
“Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual,” said New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather. “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.”
Michael Russo of The Star Tribune's "Russo's Rants" blog (Minnesota) spoke to Derek's brother, Ryan. He told Russo that his parents have donated Derek's brain to Boston Univeristy researchers who are studying CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in athletes. CTE is a progressive brain disease believed to be caused by repetitive trauma to the brain, including concussions or subconcussive blows. Ryan went on to express the Boogaard family's appreciation of all the support:
"Our family appreciates everybody's calls and condolences," Ryan Boogaard said.
"Derek loved Minnesota. He loved it here. That's why he made it his place in the summertime. He loved the fans here. He loved playing in that building. He just loved everything about Minneapolis.My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Boogaard family, the Rangers organization, and the entire NHL community.