New York Rangers’ forward Derek Boogaard, who earned a reputation as a fighter on the ice, has died at the age of 28, the National Hockey League team said.
Boogaard’s body was discovered by his family last night in his Minneapolis home, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported earlier. The team declined to release additional details.
“Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual,” New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather said. “He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him.”
Boogaard, who signed a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers on July 1, missed the final 52 games of the season after sustaining a concussion and shoulder injury. He recorded 589 penalty minutes during 277 regular-season games with the Minnesota Wild and Rangers between 2005 and 2011.
The 158 penalty points he amassed during his first season with the Wild still stands as a franchise record for most penalty points by a rookie.
“Derek was a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Wild and will be greatly missed here in Minnesota and throughout the NHL,” the Wild said on their website. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boogaard family during this tragic time of loss.”
Boogaard started in the NHL with the Wild, appearing in 255 games before he signed with the Rangers as a free agent. During his career, he tallied three goals and 13 assists.
Boogaard, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was Minnesota’s seventh-round choice in the 2001 draft.
“Derek was a well-liked and respected member of the NHLPA, and his passing is a great loss to the entire hockey community,” National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director Don Fehr said in a statement. “Our sincere condolences to Derek’s many friends and family during this difficult time.”