TORONTO – Toronto Police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of former NHL player Wade Belak.
Investigators are refusing to provide any information about the death.
However, a source familiar with the situation confirms to The Canadian Press that Belak hanged himself in an apparent suicide at a luxury hotel and condo building in the heart of the city’s downtown.
Police did say they responded to a call at 1 King St. West early Wednesday afternoon, where officers found an adult man.
“At this point it’s non-suspicious,” Const. Tony Vella said Thursday. “We will not provide any further information on a non-suspicious case.”
The news struck a tragic chord around the hockey world, particularly in the wake of the recent deaths of New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard and Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien.
Belak, who was 35, recently retired after spending parts of 14 seasons in the NHL. He was scheduled to work on the Nashville Predators’ television broadcasts this coming year and had recently travelled to Toronto to be a contestant on the CBC show “Battle of the Blades.”
Belak had been training in figure skates earlier this week at the Hershey Centre in nearby Mississauga, Ont. He posted a message to his Twitter followers on Tuesday.
“aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah !!!!! My body is killing me after 1st day of training for BOTB,” Belak wrote in the tweet.
The Saskatoon native had NHL stops in Nashville, Florida, Toronto, Calgary and Colorado. He registered eight goals and 25 assists in 549 career games while amassing 1,263 penalty minutes.
Like Rypien and Boogaard, Belak largely made his living with his fists. He fought 136 times during his NHL career, according to hockeyfights.com.
The string of incidents has raised uncomfortable questions about a possible link between the difficult role each man played in the NHL and his untimely death.
Rypien was found dead on Aug. 15 in his off-season home in Coleman, Alta., at the age of 27. He struggled with depression and police said his death was not suspicious.
Boogaard, 28, was found dead May 13 at his Minneapolis apartment due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.