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Hockey World Reacts To Boogaard's Death*


- Boogaard's funeral is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Click here for more details.

- Boogaard's family has decided to donate his brain to science.


The thing with professional athletes is that millions of people know who they are, but only a select few know what they’re all about.

Derek Boogaard wasn’t the best skater or scorer in the NHL, he was best known for being one of the most feared fighters in recent memory.

But his job in the NHL is not at all reflective of “The Boogeyman” as a person.  Those who knew him best -- friends, family, and teammates -- have had glowing things to say about Boogaard’s personality and heart since his passing, things millions of fans so often overlook.

His sudden death at age 28 is nothing short of a tragedy, and its impact has been far-reaching since the news broke late last night.  He will be sorely missed by the hockey community and it’s very clear that throughout his life Boogaard made the world a better place.

Here are some reactions from around the hockey world:

“Fun conversations with D Boogaard last year about his time in Russia with Datsyuk, working on his other skills, how much he enjoyed it. RIP.” – Darren Pang

“His No. 24 jersey and T-shirt were always among the most popular jerseys," said Wild vice president Bill Robertson said. "He did so much in the community. He had time for everyone. He had time for the fans, time for the sponsors, time for the media. He liked working with kids." – Kevin Allen video tribute > 

Statement from Wild owner Craig Leipold:

“The entire Minnesota Wild family and hockey world was saddened to learn of the passing of Derek Boogaard. Derek was certainly one of the most popular players in Wild history with the fans and was a great community representative. He brought an exuberant smile to the rink every day and gave his all every night on the ice.

A number of thoughts go through my mind as I think of Derek. One is the first time I met him in early 2008. I was well aware of Derek's reputation as a tough guy. He was in the locker room in dress clothes, glasses and hair combed. I thought he was an investment banker. He introduced himself to me and we had a brief conversation. I didn't want to bother him because he was busy signing autographs. This was something, I came to learn, he did a lot of. 
Second, Derek would never fight someone who wasn't in his “class”. He never wanted to hurt anybody. He had too much respect for the game, and the players had total respect for him. 
Lastly, I received a phone call last night at 1:00 a.m. from my son, Connor, who is a freshman in college. Connor interned for the Wild last year, and his favorite person (not just player) was Derek. You could hear in his voice just how affected he was, since he had just learned of Derek's passing. He had a lot of questions, and I had no answers.“


“It was devastating news. I played with Boogey for a long time in Minny and then in New York. He was a great guy. We got along together great. We helped each other out on the ice and off the ice. We were very close. I tried to help him along in New York, and we had a very good relationship. It's just very sad. We had a lot of good times together. He was a really easy going guy, really caring. We talked pretty much about everything. He's just the type guy who would be there for you whenever you needed him.” – Marian Gaborik (via BlueshirtsUnited)

Boogaard working with The Garden Of Dreams Foundation >

 “At a loss for words. I'll miss my roomy Derek Boogaard.. You will be missed by everyone. Great friend and teammate” – Brandon Prust

 “Niklas Backstrom on Derek Boogaard: "Unreal guy. Just a really big teddy bear. Outside the rink, he didn't want bad for anyone." – Michael Russo

“I don't know where I'm going to go with this blog to be honest. In fact, my cursor has been flickering in this spot for about three hours, it's 3 a.m. and I'm still sickened.

Even as I start typing now, my eyes are watering. So maybe that's my answer.

I'm supposed to be a professional, but I'm also human. In my role, you cover players professionally, but you get to know them personally. 

Like many of you, I was floored and saddened by tonight's tragic news. “ – Michael Russo 

More player and fan reaction at Puck Daddy >

Via the Rangers’ press release:

Throughout his career, Boogaard sought to make a difference in the communities he played in, taking part in numerous charitable endeavors.  Boogaard was a supporter of the Defending the Blue Line Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation whose mission is to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the great sport of hockey.

While with the Rangers, he created “Boogaard’s Booguardians,” hosting military members and their families at all New York Ranger home games.  In addition, he made multiple appearances with partner organizations of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment and Fuse “to make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles”.

“I had the pleasure of becoming good friends with Boogey,” Callahan said. “The biggest thing you realize, I think, is really how good a guy he is off the ice. You’ve heard it said, a gentle giant. You see what he does on the ice and you realize what a caring, kind person he was off the ice.” – Ryan Callahan (via Andrew Gross)

“You’re trying to wrap your head around what the hell happened,” Boyle said. “I have to come to grips with the fact that a great friend is gone. He’s a guy you have to have the utmost respect for as a hockey player. He really put himself on the line for the team. The way we look at it, the way I see it, as a person, as a human being, I was just bless for the short time I got to know Derek. I got to become friends with him and see what a big heart he has. The people who don’t know Derek think he might be into pain. That’s not true. He was a guy who listens, if you have an issue off the ice or on the ice. We had a good rapport.”  - Brian Boyle (via Andrew Gross)

Posted in the BB comments by LI Joe

“hicken15May 14, 118:15 am

Thank you for this blog entry. It's because of professionals like you that fans like me feel like we know the players.My favorite memory of Boogaard is the video that was put together of him and Alex Frolov taking a group of kids in New York to a Build-a-Bear store for a Garden of Dreams Foundation event this season. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen to see the Boogeyman holding the hand of a little girl as they entered the store, and to see him taking part in the little song and dance for the kids. Here's a link to the video: atid=0&id=80918There's another version of the video out there that was shown on MSG before a Rangers game, and in that video is a little exchange Derek had with one of the kids. The kid asked him who he was, and when Derek explained he played for the Rangers the kid said something on the order of "I know you. You score a lot of goals." A hint of a smile formed on Derek's lips and he didn't miss a beat as he simply stated, "No. That's not me."My thoughts and prayers are with the Boogaard family, and to all the friends left behind”



Posted by Kevin Baumer | May 14, 2011 at 06:44 pm

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