Derek Boogaard was found dead Friday evening in his Minneapolis apartment, still off-season home despite moving to play for the New York Rangers from the Minnesota Wild last season, and the outpouring of support from fans around Minnesota has been nothing short of moving.
The 28-year-old's role as on-ice role as enforcer and fan-favorite status during his five seasons in Minnesota has been met with grief at SB Nation's Wild blog Hockey Wilderness.
Fans have organized a memorial service for the late player to be held at the Xcel Energy Center at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening (the 15th). According to the post over at Hockey Wilderness, "This will be a time for mourning and rememberance of the great hockey player, and more importantly, man that we have lost. Feel free to bring photos, candles, and what have you."
Hockey Wilderness's Nathan Eide also wrote a touching memorial on the player who spent the majority of his professional hockey career in Minnesota, a portion of which is excerpted below.
Derek Boogaard was one of the most well-loved players in the brief history of the Minnesota Wild. The impact he had on this community reached far outside the boards of the Xcel Energy Center ice. Sure, he was a tough guy on the ice, but Boogaard's 24 jersey was one of the best selling in the NHL, covering the backs of hockey fans young and old. In his charitable works, Boogaard reached out to those who asked, any and all. He supported kids stricken by terminal diseases at Children's Hospital, gave money ,hockey equipment, time and visibility to the families of our country's armed forces.
Beloved in the State of Hockey, Boogaard brought crowds to their feet in support of him, his teammates and each other. A tough guy on the ice, a caring and compassionate one off it. A family man, who was looking so forward to his two younger brothers coming to stay with him. A family who had the unfortunate experience of having that family gathering ending in an unforseen way.
Boogaard's role was an enforcer. He had the back of each and every one of his teammates. It's hard to think that in this situation, nobody was able to have his back. I will miss seeing his grin, his charisma, his undying love of the game of hockey, his teammates and fans.
SB Nation Minnesota encourages fans to head on over to Hockey Wilderness to share your favorite memories of the player during this time of sadness.