Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Death of enforcers prompts statement

Posted by: Michael Russo under Fighting Updated: September 1, 2011 - 3:37 PM

The deaths of Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard have shocked the hockey world.

Belak died yesterday in an apparent suicide.

The NHLPA and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released this statement today:


NEW YORK/TORONTO (September 1, 2011) -- The following statement was
released jointly today by Don Fehr, Executive Director of the National
Hockey League Players' Association, and Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the
National Hockey League:

"Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey
League Players’ Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a
matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of
his life.

"While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events
cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors
that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether
concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the
likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to
a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and
will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are
deemed warranted.

"It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution
is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of
the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance.
We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.

"NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be
explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective."



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