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Rangers' Derek Boogard died of accidental overdose

Medical examiner determines the injured hockey enforcer had a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.

May 20, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard squares off with Philadelphia's Jody Shelley during a game last season.
Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard squares off with Philadelphia's… (Matt Slocum / Associated…)

The death of Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was an accident, due to a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkiller oxycodone.

The Hennepin County, Minn., medical examiner announced Boogaard's cause of death Friday, saying it was unclear exactly when the 28-year-old died. Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment May 14, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers.

The medical examiner said no private data on Boogaard would be released, but a statement his family issued through the National Hockey League Players' Assn. indicated the 6-foot-7 Boogaard had been struggling with pain and addiction.

"After repeated courageous attempts at rehabilitation and with the full support of the New York Rangers, the NHLPA and the NHL, Derek had been showing tremendous improvement but was ultimately unable to beat this opponent," the family said. "While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable."

Boogard's agent, Ron Salcer, and a spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine said this week that Boogaard's brain will be examined for signs of a degenerative disease often found in athletes who sustain repeated hits to the head.

Boogaard was known as "The Boogeyman" — one of the league's most feared fighters. He agreed to a $6.5 million, four-year deal with the Rangers in July and appeared in 22 games last season, finishing with a goal, an assist and 45 penalty minutes.

Boogaard's funeral will be held Saturday in Regina, Saskatchewan.


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