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This past summer the NHL
had a horrible summer as the sport lost three former tough guys (Derek Boogaard
, Rick Rypien
and Wade Belak
) to various issues (two to suicide and one to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone).
In the after math of the deaths of these three players, many were quick to point to their roles as fighters as a reason that these three people were no longer with us. Two of them (Rick Rypien, Wade Belak) tragically took their own lives and were both dealing with depression issues at the time of their death. According Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa
a former teammate and close friend of Rick Rypien; Rypien loved his role as a fighter.
Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun --- Bieksa is emphatic that Rypien loved his role in hockey and fighting had nothing to do with his mental challenges. He said Rypien's illness was too complicated to be explained away by one event or circumstance, such as the car-accident death nearly a decade ago of Rypien's girlfriend or the constant stream of injuries that slowed his NHL career.
"There were a lot of things going on," Bieksa said. "I felt he was as much my responsibility as anybody's. Looking back now, I wished I'd talked to him a little more in the summer. I thought he was getting better. I knew the severity of it [but] I don't think anyone really thought this would happen."
What I am trying to say here is that maybe before we just the gun here maybe we need to step back and take a look “at all the facts” before we jump to conclusions. We don’t even know if any of the deaths are related, on its face each player’s death could have a different set of circumstances surrounding it. We just don’t know.