Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Untimely NHL Death: Rick Rypien

Late yesterday evening, the news broke of Winnipeg Jets (and former Vancouver Canucks) player Rick Rypien's death.  He was found dead in his home in Alberta by a family member.  He was only 27 years old.

Although details of Rypien's death have not been released, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have said that the death was "sudden" and "non-suspicious."  Reports say that he requested leave to take care of undisclosed personal matters back in November 2010 (eerily similar to Derek Boogaard's story).  Another unconfirmed report noted Rypien suffered from depression and that this last leave of absense was his second request in the last three seasons with the Canucks.

The Jets released a statement on their webpage late yesterday:

“We are deeply saddened to confirm Rick’s passing. As many people are aware, he had strong ties to True North Sports & Entertainment, the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, the former Manitoba Moose Hockey Club and the Vancouver Canucks. We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Rypien family as well as Rick’s friends. We also appreciate all of the support that has come pouring in from Rick’s fans. Rick was a talented player with an extremely bright future. His hunger for the game made him a valued team member both on and off the ice. This loss has impacted us as more than just a hockey team.”
Rypien recently signed a one-year contract with Winnipeg this past July after playing with the Vancouver Canucks for the past six seasons.  The Canucks have also issued a statement on their webpage as well.

Many fans have created a memorial outside of Rogers Stadium to express their sympathy (pictured right; for more, CLICK HERE).  Many players have also used Twitter to express their condolences.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Rypien family as well as the Vancouver and Winnipeg organizations along with the fans as well.  It's such a sad thing and a very big loss.  I believe a Canucks fan has summed it up pretty well with the following statement:

... any time you hear a hockey player has passed away, especially in the off season, it hurts everyone no matter what team you're cheering for.

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