REGINA – The WHL’s Regina Pats have decided to go ahead with a “Rick Rypien Bobblehead Night” to honour the player who died last summer.
Rypien spent his major junior career with the Pats before playing with the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL farm team the Manitoba Moose.
He spent years battling depression and committed suicide Aug. 15 at the age of 27.
He had been preparing to report to the Winnipeg Jets, who had just signed him to a $700,000 contract.
Bobblehead dolls bearing Rypien’s likeness in a Pats’ uniform were to be offered at Friday’s game with the Swift Current Broncos for a minimum donation of $2.
The money raised is earmarked for the KidSport charity.
“The initial discussion of having a bobblehead night for Rick centred on his return to Winnipeg and him being one (of) the most popular players we have had in some time,” Pats president Brent Parker said on the team’s website.
They had hoped he would be there for the game since it was scheduled during the NHL all-star break.
“Our plans obviously changed with Rick’s passing this summer. We discussed the idea of continuing forward with the night with Rick’s family and they were fully supportive of us paying tribute to Rick’s memory in this manner,” Parker said.
The Winnipeg Jets paid tribute to Rypien at the start of their first regular-season home game in October against the Montreal Canadiens.