Wild says bye to Boogaard one more time

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 28, 2011 - 1:01 PM

His family was on hand for a moving tribute at the X more than six months after his death.

hide

Derek Boogaard was all smiles after he scored his first NHL goal in 2005

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Tears began flowing from Joanne Boogaard's cheeks two hours before Sunday's game.

Derek Boogaard's mother stood somberly in front of Gate 1 at Xcel Energy Center -- the same spot where hundreds of fans showed up to memorialize the Wild player and pay their respects to his family mere days after Boogaard died May 13.

"Coming into this, I didn't think it was going to be this hard," said Boogaard's youngest brother, Aaron. "But seeing Mom -- Mom's already breaking down. That's what I'm not ready for."

In a special gesture that displayed wonderfully what Derek Boogaard meant to the Wild and its fans, the franchise paid tribute to him before Sunday's game against the Calgary Flames. His family -- which included Joanne, Aaron, father Len, brothers Ryan and Curtis, sister Krysten, grandparents Peter and Nancy and stepmother Jody -- was on hand.

"I remember the first game that I was here. It was against Calgary [Oct. 5, 2005]," Len Boogaard said before his eyes turned moist. "And this will probably be the last game I'll see here. And it's against Calgary."

Boogaard quickly became a fan favorite after that NHL debut, which was apparent Sunday when fans stood, cheered, laughed and cried during a five-minute video tribute that included comments from Wild players Nick Schultz and Josh Harding, former Wild players Marian Gaborik, Andrew Brunette and Brent Burns and ex-Rangers teammates Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust.

The Wild presented the Boogaards with a painting, added a Boogaard memorial to the main concourse of the arena and donated $10,000 to Boogaard's favorite charity, Defending the Blue Line.

"Anybody who knew Derek knew what he was like as a person," said Aaron Boogaard, who was signed by the Wild in September to a minor league contract and is playing for Rio Grande Valley in the Central Hockey League. "The fans only got to see him on the ice. On the ice and off the ice, he was completely different, and you loved him for both.

"Minnesota's showing a really good side of him that wasn't really shown this summer as much. It's just to see the better parts of Derek -- the real parts."

Boogaard died in his Minneapolis apartment from a toxic mix of alcohol and painkillers. He long battled addiction and tried to beat it unsuccessfully in rehab.

"It's a disease, and sometimes it just gets a hold of you," Aaron Boogaard said. "Some of the best people out there can't beat it. It's a shame."

The Boogaards were appreciative of the Wild putting the tribute together.

"There's nothing I can say, nothing I can do to express my gratitude for what they've done for us as a family since Derek died and during Derek's time here," said Len Boogaard, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who hasn't worked since the day Derek died.

"This brings everything flooding back in terms of emotion. It's still hard to believe it's a little more than six months that have gone by. I still find it hard to wrap my hands around this."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Colgate
Northeastern 6:00 PM
Drexel
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Florida State
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Fordham
Delaware 6:00 PM
James Madison
South Carolina 6:00 PM
LSU
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Marquette
Binghamton 6:00 PM
UMBC
American Univ 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Penn State
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Richmond
SMU 6:00 PM
South Florida
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hofstra 6:00 PM
William & Mary
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Longwood
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Akron 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Memphis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
East Carolina 6:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
Murray State 6:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Kent State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Eastern Michigan 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Indiana 6:00 PM
Michigan State
Colgate 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Fordham 6:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
George Mason 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Detroit 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV
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: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close