August 16, 2011

Winnipeg Jets Center Rick Rypien Found Dead

By - Brian Harrington

Rick Rypien, a center for the Winnipeg Jets, was found dead in his home yesterday. An official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed the death. He called it sudden, but not suspicious in any way.

Rypien, 27, signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with Winnipeg last month after spending parts of six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He had 9 goals, 7 assists and 226 penalty minutes in 119 career NHL games.

Photo by: Nick Procaylo
"We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Rypien family as well as Rick's friends," the Jets said in a statement. "We also appreciate all of the support that has come pouring in from Rick's fans. Rick was a talented player with an extremely bright future. His hunger for the game made him a valued team member both on and off the ice. This loss has impacted us as more than just a hockey team."

Rypien, the cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, was granted an indefinite leave of absence last season to deal with an undisclosed personal matter. The leave came several weeks after he returned from a six-game suspension for shoving a Minnesota Wild fan at Xcel Energy Center in October.

He is the second active NHL player found dead this offseason. Former New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died in May due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.

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