The Hennepin, Minn. County Medical Examiner announced Friday Rangers left wing Derek Boogaard’s death was accidental, caused by combination of alcohol and oxycodone.
The 28-year old Boogaard died last Friday night in his Minneapolis apartment. He was buried over the weekend in Regina, Saskatchewan. Blueshirts teammates Brandon Prust, Michael Del Zotto, Wojtek Wolski and Marc Staal attended the services.
Boogaard was reportedly receiving treatment at the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, which he entered as a member of the Minnesota Wild in 2009.
“We would like to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love and support for our family during this difficult period as we grieve the loss of Derek – our son and brother. We are deeply saddened by this unimaginable loss, but we are grateful for the expression of support that has given us strength as we go through this tragic time,” the Boogaard family said in a statement released by the National Hockey League’s Players Association. The family has donated his brain to Boston University Medical Center to study the effects of brain injuries to athletes.
“It is very comforting for our family to know that, while Derek’s life was far too short, he had a great impact on many people who he came into contact with. We are proud that Derek was able to live his boyhood dream to play in the National Hockey League. We are even more proud of the fact that Derek was dedicated to making a difference in his adopted communities of Minnesota and New York City, through his countless hours of charitable work.
“Earlier today, we received the results of Derek's toxicology report at the time of his accidental death. 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 this opponent. While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable.
“Our family would like to like to thank the New York Rangers, the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and the National Hockey League for supporting Derek's continued efforts in his battle.
“Derek will be greatly missed and will never be forgotten by his fans, friends, and teammates, and especially by us – his family. We respectfully ask for continued privacy as we grieve the loss of Derek”
Signed a four-year deal worth $6.5 million on July 1, 2010, with the Rangers, Boogaard played in 22 games and recorded a goal, an assist, two points and 45 penalty minutes before his 2010-11 season ended due to concussion symptoms following a fight with Ottawa enforcer Matt Carkner on Dec. 9.
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