Rick Rypien found dead

Several major media outlets have confirmed that Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien was found dead at his home in Alberta, Canada, Monday evening. Rypien was 27 years old.

Rypien’s death has been ruled a non-suspicious death by police. The Vancouver Canucks, whom Rypien spent his entire professional career with, released a statement Monday night regarding the loss of Rypien:

“It is with tremendous sadness that the Vancouver Canucks confirm the passing of Rick Rypien. Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks’ family for the past six years. Rick was a great teammate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time.”

Rypien played 130 games with the Canucks over six seasons, working as mostly an enforcer for the club. He amassed 31 penalty minutes last season in nine games before asking for a leave of absence from the club. While the Canucks refused to comment on the nature of the leave, Canucks GM Mike Gillis stated in the Vancouver Sun, “When you come to know somebody and realize they’re a really good person, who has their heart in the right place and wants to do the right thing not only for themselves but for others, you have to support them.

“You don’t only support them when they’re at the top of their game and doing everything you want, you support them when they’re not feeling good about things or have other issues they have to deal with. These are young people that have a lot to offer, a lot to live for, and you support them in any way possible.”

In March of last season, Rypien looked to make a return to professional hockey and was assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Rypien remained with the Moose for the rest of the season. He signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets this summer for $700,000.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Sun in March, Rypien stated he felt fine and was ready to return to what he loves doing with the Manitoba Moose.

“(The issues) are behind me and one thing I want to 100% clarify is that there’s no substance abuse at all — it’s the farthest thing from it,” said Rypien. “This is a personal matter. It’s kind of a rare issue and even though it’s taken me away from the game I love, doing the work I’ve done the last couple of months I’ve made a lot of gains as a person and as an individual.”

Rypien’s death comes only months after another NHL tough guy, Derek Boogaard, was found dead. The medical examiner ruled Boogaard’s cause of death came from a deadly mix of alcohol and drugs.

Our thoughts go out to Rick Rypien’s family and friends in the wake of this tragedy.

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