NY Ranger Boogaard's Brain Donated to Research

Cause of Boogaard's Death May Be Unclear for Weeks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Derek Boogaard has died.

    Derek Boogaard's family has donated his brain to researchers who will check for damage that might have resulted from his career as an NHL enforcer.

    A spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine confirmed Sunday that Boogaard's family made the donation.

    The 28-year-old player was found dead Friday in his Minneapolis apartment. The team announced his death Friday but gave no details.

    There is no evidence yet that concussions might have contributed to Boogaard's death. But the family is asking the Sports Legacy Institute at BU to look into it.

    "Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual," Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather said. "He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates during this difficult time."

    Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, said in a statement: “The NHLPA is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Derek Boogaard. Derek was a well-liked and respected member of the NHLPA, and his passing is a great loss to the entire hockey community. Our sincere condolences to Derek’s many friends and family during this difficult time.”

    The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Boogaard was found dead at his apartment in Minneapolis by family members around 6:10 p.m. An autopsy will be performed Saturday, according to the  Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.

    Niklas Backstrom, a goaltender with the Minnesota Wild and a former teammate of Boogaard, told the Star-Tribune: "I don't know how to describe it. It's really hard. Unreal guy. Great friend and an awesome teammate. Just a really big teddy bear. Outside the rink, he didn't want bad for anyone."

    Boogaard signed a four-year, $6.5 million deal with Rangers in July and appeared in 22 games with them last season. He had a goal and an assist to go with 45 penalty minutes.

    One of the most feared fighters in the league, Boogaard missed the last 52 games of the regular season with a concussion and shoulder injury and did not play in the playoffs.

    Boogaard began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 games with the Wild from 2005-10.

    In 277 regular-season games with Minnesota and the Rangers over six seasons, he had three goals and 13 assists and 589 penalty minutes.

    The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native was Minnesota's seventh-round choice, 202nd overall, in the 2001 draft.