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Derek Boogaard's father keeps asking: When will hockey fights be banned?

Last month, at a forum in Canada on concussions and sports, the Mountie sitting in the audience stirred and considered asking a question. But at his wife’s urging, Derek Boogaard’s father held off.

Six years after his son, the former Minnesota Wild enforcer, died at age 28 while battling an addiction to prescription pain-killers, Len Boogaard is still looking for an answer to this question: “What is the NHL going to do about fighting?”

The Boogaard story has been told a number of times since Derek’s death, and his father has wrestled with the role he helped create is raising a son who became a professional hockey player much more for his fighting skills than anything else.

The arc of Boogaard’s life and death was told again recently by the Toronto Globe and Mail. It was also the subject of a 20-4 book by New York Times reporter John Branch, Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard.”

Boogaard’s parents cooperated with Branch when he researched the book, but Len told Globe and Mail reporter Roy McGregor that he hasn’t been able to read it: “I can deal with talking about Derek and his addiction and the doctors and all that stuff, but when I have to read about his upbringing and all that he went through, … I can’t. It’s the same with my wife and the others. They can’t read it, either.”

Len Boogaard told the Globe and Mail that any changes in hockey’s culture are more likely to come from the United States than Canada, where fighting is common at the junior level and where Derek Boogaard first made his reputation as a brawler.

“Americans seem to be more interested in resolving this and doing something about the situation,” Len Boogaard said. “It’s a sacred cow here in Canada. You can’t say anything derogatory or negative about hockey.”

In the story, Len Boogaard talks about the role he played in shaping his son’s career – “I didn’t know anything about concussions.” -- and says that he now can’t watch a National Hockey League game.

“I watched the World Cup and that was hockey,” he told the Globe and Mail. “ None of this … fights, scrums in front of the net all the time. It was just up and down hockey.”

So what would Len Boogaard like to see? Something very simple: A complete ban on fighting in hockey.

“How do you square the circle where they want to get rid of headshots but they allow fighting in the league?” he asked. “What am I missing?” 

Click here to read the entire Globe and Mail story.

Aaron Rodgers' father opens up on family rift; sports analysts say, 'Why go there?'

The Rodgers family patriarch revealed in a recent New York Times interview that Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers has not spoken to his mom, dad and brothers in more than two years.

The world learned of Aaron’s estrangement from the family last year when younger brother Jordan appeared on reality TV show “The Bachelorette." Jordan, who followed a similar path as Aaron as a standout quarterback through high school and college before a brief career in the NFL, explained to the show’s star JoJo Fletcher she would not meet Aaron during a visit to the Rodgers’ hometown of Chico, Calif.

The revelation created a media frenzy, though the family kept the reasons behind Aaron’s separation quiet until now.

Ed Rodgers, Aaron's father, told The New York Times “One [Rodgers family member] in the news is enough for us. … Fame can change things.” Ed also confirmed a Bleacher Report article published in November that revealed Rodgers had not spoken to his family since the end of 2014, a few months after he began dating actress Olivia Munn.

Ed and his wife Darla have not traveled to any Packers games this season, including the first two rounds of the playoffs. Jordan lives in Dallas, where the Packers visited for the NFC divisional playoff game agains the Cowboys, and Aaron said he did not know if his brother would be attending the game.

Ed said it is hard to tell if there has been any improvement in the family’s relationship with Aaron.

Though Aaron keeps his distance from family, he still keeps close ties with his hometown Chico, The New York Times article explained. He recently donated money to his former high school to help the football team travel to Long Beach, Calif., for the state 4A championship game.

“It’s like the old Aaron, really,” Ed said responding to his son’s giving.

Ed described the circumstances in which the family’s business became a national story as “weird,” though he is not upset that it happened.

“Airing public laundry is not what I would have chosen,” he said. “[But] It’s good to have it all come out.”

Some sports analysts think the Rodgers family should stop airing their laundry publicly.

Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd said on his show Monday, “Why go there. You’re his parents. That stuff should be private. Come on Aaron Rodgers family. … It’s one thing for Aaron’s brother to take a shot at him on ‘The Bachelorette.’ I get it, sibling rivalry. But you always think your parents totally have your back. Aaron Rodgers’ family comes off as needy.”

ESPN’s Jorge Sedano tweeted Monday “Aaron Rodgers' family needs to stop. Isn’t this the ultimate… keep it within the family?”

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