The New York Rangers organization announced the sad news that forward Derek Boogaard has been found dead in his Minneapolis apartment. The 28-year-old had just completed his first season with the Rangers after spending his first five years with the Minnesota Wild.
Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo first reported the news via Twitter on Friday evening. Cause of death is unknown at this time.
Boogaard broke in with the Wild in 2005-06 and, at six-foot-seven and 260-pounds, quickly gained a reputation as one of the game’s top enforcers. Off the ice, Boogaard showcased a different side and was noted for his charitable work in Minnesota.
After being signed by the Rangers last summer as an unrestricted free agent, Boogaard established “Boogaard’s Booguardians,” hosting military members and their families at all Ranger home games. The Saskatoon native was originally Minnesota’s seventh-round selection, 202nd overall, in the 2001 NHL draft. He played in only 22 games this past season after suffering a shoulder injury. In 277 career games, Boogaard recorded three goals, 13 assists and 589 penalty minutes. Boogaard and his brother Aaron, who plays hockey for the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League, ran the Derek and Aaron Boogaard Fighting Camp in Regina, Saskatchewan, for children ages 12 to 18.
Derek Boogaard (June 23, 1982 – May 13, 2011)