RIP Derek Boogaard: One of the sweetest tough guys to ever play hockey

Categories: Obituary, Wild
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RIP Derek Boogaard
Derek Boogaard, the popular Wild enforcer who had signed with the New York Rangers, was found dead in his apartment Friday at the age of 28.

Boogaard was found unresponsive by his brothers Ryan and Aaron at around 6 p.m. in his condo at 415 1st Street North in Minneapolis. It could take weeks for the toxicology test that could determine the cause of death, but foul play is not suspected.

I met Boogaard in 2007 for a City Pages cover story. Although he made his living terrorizing opponents on the ice with his fists, he was a soft-spoken giant with a deep connection to his family and his teammates.

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Derek learned to fight early. As the son of a cop, there was no shortage of challengers."If I gave somebody a ticket, it would invariably be taken out on the kids," father Len said at the time.

Boogaard wasn't much for scoring--if he notched one goal it was a banner year--but he was one of the best enforcers in the NHL. In an unfiltered interview, he described what it was like fighting for his teammates on the Wild.

"They have respect for you, that you don't have as much skill as some of the guys, but they know you're there working hard and you want to be as good as them, or better," Boogaard told City Pages. "And the guys do see it, they respect you a lot, but they don't treat you any different."

He will be missed by all who knew him--except perhaps those on the other end of his punches.

Rest in peace, Boogeyman.

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Continuing Coverage
-> The Boogeyman Drops the Gloves: Profile of the Wild Enforcer
-> The Boogeyman Unfiltered: The Q & A with Derek Boogaard
-> RIP Derek Boogaard: Obituary
-> Did season-ending concussion play a role in Boogaard's untimely death?
-> Boogaard's brain donated to Sports Legacy Institute
-> Boogaard suffered from substance addiction

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