Friday, May 27, 2011

ESPN: Boogaard Didn't Feel Like New York Was Home

Image Credit: Getty/

There was a really long and detailed article posted on by Elizabeth Merrill today about Derek Boogaard and some of the things he was going through leading up to his tragic death earlier this month. I highly recommend reading the entire article, but here are a few excerpts from it.

"The New York Rangers signed his checks, but the Canadian's heart was always in the Twin Cities. In Manhattan, he could walk around for six hours and nobody recognized him. He hated that, the isolation he felt after he had signed with the Rangers this past summer. People close to Boogaard say he was bored and lonely in New York. When he suffered a season-ending concussion in December, things got even worse. He didn't leave his apartment for three weeks, shunning the light, and had containers of takeout food piling up on the counters."
"Between swigs of beer, he went on about the future for hours. He would train the hardest he had ever trained; he'd lift in the morning and take jujitsu classes at night. He would prove to the Rangers, who had signed him to a $6.5 million contract, that he was worth every penny. He had so many plans."
"Reached last week before the medical examiner's findings, [Devin Wilson, a former junior hockey teammate who was his roommate in New York] said that Boogaard was in California days before he died receiving counseling at the behest of the Rangers. Wilson said he didn't know what the counseling was for but that Boogaard called him frequently that week and sounded ready to go home. He packed with the intention of staying for just a few days in California, Wilson said, then learned he had to stay longer.
Boogaard's agent, who's based in California, said he met Boogaard that week for dinner and to go over marketing strategies. Ron Salcer described his client as upbeat. He declined to comment on any details of Boogaard's treatment or how a 28-year-old man who just came back from counseling could wind up dead from an accidental overdose 48 hours later.
All Boogaard's friends know is that for a long time, he was hurting. And on the surface, at least, it looked as though things were about to change."

It's the kind of story that I personally feel like I want to know more about how and why all of this happened, but then when I read it I just feel that much more awful about everything. There is a lot of information in this article that coincides with Larry Brook's article in the NY Post from a few weeks ago. I don't want to speculate on what specifically Boogaard was going through in the months leading up to his death. One thing is certain, however, and that is that the Boogeyman definitely seemed like a gentle giant who everybody loved off the ice.

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