Last night, a tragedy was announced in the NHL community. Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home. Rypien was 27 years old and had recently signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
This untimely death reminds me of the passing of the Boogeyman, who passed away in May at the age of 28, and both NHL stars had a lot of promise within the league and it has been taken away too early.
There are not very many details released yet about Rypien’s passing but suicide has not been ruled out since Rypien battled depression for many years of his life. Some sources are saying his death has been ruled a suicide but it’s still unknown.
Rypien played in 119 regular season games with the Canucks, scoring nine goals and seven assists for 16 points while racking up 226 penalty minutes. He played in 17 postseason games with Vancouver, collecting three assists and 43 PIM. He’s participated in 38 fights at the NHL-level (including preseason games),according to Hockey Fights.com. Sadly, many will remember him for his altercation with a Minnesota Wild fan, which earned him a six-game suspension. Rypien also took a leave of absence in November 2010 to try to deal with his personal issues. If Rypien’s last name seems familiar to sports fans, it’s no accident. He’s the son of Wes Rypien, a former Canadian boxer and the cousin of Mark Rypien, an NFL quarterback who helped the Washington Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI.
True North and the Winnipeg Jets released this statement about Rypien’s death:
“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.”
The Vancouver Canucks also released a statement about Rypien:
“It is with tremendous sadness that the Vancouver Canucks confirm the passing of Rick Rypien. Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks family for the past six years. Rick was a great teammate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time.”
Here’s a statement from NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr:
“All Players and NHLPA staff are saddened to learn of Rick’s passing. He was a respected member of our Association and will be greatly missed throughout the hockey community. Our sincere condolences go out to Rick’s family, friends and many fans.”
This has hit the whole NHL Community hard and our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Rypien family in their time of grief. Another star has been taken from us way to early in his life.