A New York man and onetime minor-league hockey player accused of being a drug supplier for former Minnesota Wild fan favorite Derek Boogaard has pleaded guilty to a narcotics offense.
Jordan Hart, 33, of Huntington, on Long Island, admitted last week in federal court in Manhattan to possessing the potent prescription opiate oxycodone.
Boogaard, a 6-foot-7 hockey tough guy with the Wild and then briefly at the end of his career with the New York Rangers, died at age 28 in 2011 in a downtown Minneapolis apartment from an overdose of alcohol and illegally obtained drugs.
At the time of Hart’s arrest, prosecutors said he sold at least some of the nearly 3,000 pills he obtained to Boogaard, who regularly traveled to Hart’s home to buy pills. Boogaard died within two weeks of his last purchase from Hart, according to the indictment filed in 2014.
Hart’s sentencing on the misdemeanor plea is scheduled for Oct. 6. He faces maximums of a year in prison and $5,000 fine. He had been charged with a felony of distributing the drugs, which could have meant many more years in prison if convicted.
Hart was arrested in 2014, along with Utah Grizzlies physician’s assistant, Oscar Johnson, who was accused of helping Hart get the painkillers he sold by writing unnecessary prescriptions. Charges against Johnson, 61, include distributing and possessing with intent to distribute oxycodone and one count of making a false statement.
Boogaard played for the Wild for five seasons (2005-10) and scored three goals and amassed more than 500 penalty minutes during his six-year career. The forward joined the New York Rangers as a free agent in 2010 and played 22 games until a fight-related concussion that December ended his season.
Hart, son of former New York Islanders player Gerry Hart and a minor leaguer for the Utah Grizzlies from 2007-09, befriended Boogaard in late 2010, the New York Times reported. Boogaard occasionally stopped at automated teller machines on the way to Long Island to withdraw thousands of dollars to make his purchases from Hart.
The indictment charged that in “many instances” the drugs sold to Boogaard came from prescriptions written by Johnson and mailed to Hart. At least once, Boogaard chewed the pills while driving home, according to the indictment.
Until this case, only Derek Boogaard’s younger brother, Aaron, had been charged in the death. Aaron Boogaard admitted in Hennepin County District Court that he flushed pills down a toilet soon after his brother died following a night out partying in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District.
Aaron Boogaard received a stayed sentence just shy of six months, along with probation and community service. He said he got rid of the pills to keep them from police.
After Derek Boogaard’s death, an examination of his brain found he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
In December, an Illinois judge dismissed a wrongful death claim that Boogaard’s parents brought against the NHL. His parents alleged that the league was negligent in caring for Boogaard his addiction to painkillers.