Even Mom watches Boogey fight

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2007 - 9:47 PM

The Wild's Derek Boogaard has made his name with his fists, a talent he honed fighting his brothers and sisters. To Derek Boogaard's family, the Wild heavyweight is a sweetheart of a guy, even when he's pounding on his younger brother.

In most families, when brothers fight, Mom comes sprinting downstairs screaming and yelling.

But the Boogaards are not your typical family.

In fact, when Derek Boogaard, the Wild enforcer and king NHL heavyweight, punches Aaron Boogaard, the former Wild prospect and recent Pittsburgh Penguins signee, Mom smiles and snaps photos.

"At least they're wearing gloves now," said Joanne Boogaard this past July at Lonsdale Boxing Club in Regina, Saskatchewan. "Before it was the fists. And they went into the drywall."

This summer, twice a week, the Boogaards headed down to the 6,500-square-foot boxing facility owned by Frank Fiacco to throw haymakers, not just at innocent 250-pound punching bags, but at each other's faces.

On one July evening, the two hopped in the ring -- with Joanne, 23-year-old brother Ryan and 19-year-old sister Krysten looking on and taking pictures -- and proceeded to pound each other into oblivion.

"Aaron's getting better," Joanne noticed. "He's not bloody."

Last summer, Derek (6-7, 254 pounds) vs. Aaron (6-3, 220) was not a fair fight. But Aaron has stacked on the muscle and now presents Derek with a challenge.

"Last year, Derek was in a grouchy mood all day and Aaron was bugging him all day," said Ryan, Derek and Aaron's part-time PR guy and fight scout. "They came out here, and Aaron came home with two black eyes and was wearing sunglasses for a couple days."

Derek, justifying his actions, said: "He kept hitting me in the nose, you know? It just started bleeding every time, so I finally got ticked off."

Put 'em up, sis

Becoming one of the NHL's most feared heavyweights took some practice growing up. There were the infamous wrestling matches, not just between Derek, Ryan and Aaron, who was assigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre last week, but sister Krysten, who stands 6-4 and will be a freshman basketball player at the University of Kansas.

"She's freakishly big," Derek kidded.

The childhood bouts made for lots of damage.

"We've got lots of home videos of us going at it," said Ryan, who is following in father Len's footsteps and becoming a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. "We were pretty scrappy kids. Mum was always at the hospital taking one or two of us because of the mischief we'd get in.

"It wasn't just us. One time we were kind of running away from the baby-sitter around the house. She chased one of us down the stairs, and she ended up breaking her leg. She didn't want to baby-sit us anymore."Thank God the health care in Saskatchewan is free," Joanne said.

Fight camp, and more

It was a busy summer for Derek Boogaard. The most fun he had was playing in two charity hockey games put on by teammate Pavol Demitra in Trencin, Slovakia, and Prostejov, Czech Republic. The games featured stars Jaromir Jagr, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Martin Straka.

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