Ex-Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard found dead in Minneapolis apartment

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 14, 2011 - 8:54 PM

The popular enforcer, who joined the New York Rangers last season, was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment by family members.

view larger photos

  

Members of the Wild family were hit hard Friday night when it was learned that Derek Boogaard, affectionately dubbed the "Boogey Man" during his days policing the ice at Xcel Energy Center, was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment by members of his family.

The New York Rangers enforcer and one of the most popular players in Wild history was 28.

Boogaard's cause of death is unknown, but he was found at 6:10 p.m. Friday. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed an autopsy would be conducted Saturday.

"I don't know how to describe it," said goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who sat 6 feet away from Boogaard in the Wild locker room for four years. "It's really hard. Unreal guy. Great friend and an awesome teammate. Just a really big teddy bear. Outside the rink, he didn't want bad for anyone.

"If you don't know him, if you just know him by what he does on the ice, you don't know how great he is. Smiling every day. At the rink, I don't think he was mad at anyone ever. I just want to send my condolences to Boogey's family."

Boogaard, who hailed from Regina, Saskatchewan, had spent the past week in Los Angeles with his brother, Aaron, a minor league hockey player and former Wild draft pick. In a text message to the Star Tribune on Thursday, Derek Boogaard said he had just met with a public relations firm and planned to start a Twitter account.

He was excited to return to Minnesota, where he was going to be joined Friday by his other brother, Ryan, a Royal Canadian Mountie in Saskatchewan.

Boogaard also is survived by his mother, Joanne; father, Len; and younger sister, Krysten, who recently completed her senior season as a basketball player at the University of Kansas.

"Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual," Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said in a statement. "He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates during this difficult time."

The news was stunning. The hockey world extended an outpouring of condolences on Twitter, everybody from Bobby Ryan and Scottie Upshall to Wes Walz and Jeremy Roenick to saddened Wild employees and even Brad May, against whom Boogaard had one of his more infamous fights during the 2007 playoffs.

It demonstrated how tight the hockey community is no matter the player's role.

"He was just a genuine guy," said former Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster, who now plays for Edmonton. "He liked to have fun and always came to the rink looking to have a good time. We had so much respect for him. He was a guy who took care of his teammates, took care of his friends and made sure everybody was looked after.

"That's why everybody looked up to him."

The hard-nosed, big-bodied 6-8 bruiser with an even bigger sense of humor planned to spend his summer in Minneapolis after a trying first season in New York.

Boogaard, who signed a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers last July after five seasons with the Wild, was limited to 22 games in New York because of a serious concussion. In March, he talked about how he never had experienced anything like it. He barely could leave his West Side apartment for weeks and had to wear sunglasses outdoors because he was bothered by sunlight.

He took solace in walks around Central Park.

In a text message to the Star Tribune last month, Boogaard said: "I did not want to have the year I had for my first year. I disappointed a lot of people. So I gotta work my [butt] off this summer so I can get back to what I was doing in Minny, you know?"

In a statement, the Wild said: "Derek was a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Wild and will be greatly missed here in Minnesota and throughout the NHL. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boogaard family during this tragic time of loss."

Backstrom, who used to verbally joust with Boogaard as they poked fun at each other, was devastated by the news.

"He'd come to the rink always so happy," Backstrom said. "He enjoyed the game, he enjoyed life. Even on the ice, he had such a tough role. I look at those guys, and I don't know how they do it. But every day, he did it, and if he wasn't the best, he was one of the best."

In 255 games with the Wild, Boogaard had 54 fights and amassed 544 penalty minutes.

On Nov. 9, 2010, he scored his first goal since Jan. 7, 2006 -- or 1,768 days -- to end the longest goal drought in NHL history in a loss to Washington. In a text to the Star Tribune, Boogaard wrote, "I finally got it drilled into my head, I gotta shoot more like [Brian] Rolston!"

Boogaard was very close with former Wild forward Marian Gaborik and current Wild defenseman Brent Burns. With Burns, Boogaard became a supporter of the Defending the Blue Line Foundation.

While with the Rangers, he created "Boogaard's Booguardians," hosting military members and their families at all Rangers home games.

  • DEREK BOOGAARD 1982-2011

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close