New York Rangers' forward Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment yesterday, the Times reports. His cause of death was unknown, and an autopsy is scheduled for today; he was 28-years-old.
Voted "toughest fighter" and "most intimidating player" in the league several times over during his six seasons, the 6'7" Boogaard signed a $6.5 million contract with the Rangers last July, but only played 22 games this past season after a concussion and a shoulder injury that relegated him to his West Side apartment for weeks, forcing him "to wear sunglasses outdoors because he was bothered by sunlight," the Minneapolis Tribute reports.
Former Minnesota Wild teammate Niklas Backstrom told the Tribune that Boogaard was an "unreal guy. Great friend and an awesome teammate. Just a really big teddy bear. Outside the rink, he didn't want bad for anyone." Boogaard, who had his 70th and final NHL fight this season, told the Tribune he had great expectations for next year after his abbreviated season: "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?"