Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien was found dead at his Crowsnest Pass, AB home on Monday. He was just 27-years old.
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail broke the story after authorities confirmed Rypien’s death. Details are minimal at this time, but the Globe and Mail reports that RCMP did not consider his death suspicious.
Never drafted, Rypien was signed as a free agent by the Vancouver Canucks/Manitoba Moose in 2005. He will be best remembered as a fearless forward with the Canucks, where he spent parts of six seasons compiling 226 penalty minutes in 119 games. Rypien spent most of the 2010-11 season on a leave of absence to deal with personal issues. He signed a one-year deal with the Jets back in June, where he was excited to have an opportunity to play in the city where his professional career began.
Rypien in July on returning to Winnipeg and moving on from his 2010-11 troubles, via Winnipeg Free Press:
“… I’m probably more excited than I’ve ever been, just because I get to come back to where I started my professional career and get my feet back on the ground. It’s not only for me personally, but to speak to the city and everyone involved there. I want to help turn that team into a contender.
Everyone that knows me, knows that everything that was happening didn’t reflect me as a person and it’s not like I was doing anything wrong. I went through a couple of things I had to deal with, I got over it — it took longer than I wanted. But just the interest people had in me and the belief people had in me… it means a lot to me. It makes me believe even more in myself. They see something in me as a person that maybe sometimes you don’t see yourself. They point that out and then you believe in yourself more and then hope you reach the potential they see and you see in yourself.”
Rypien is the second NHL enforcer to have died this offseason. Derek Boogaard died at his Minneapolis apartment from an accidental overdose back in May.
We’ll have more news and reaction tomorrow, but for now our thoughts are with Rick Rypien’s family and friends.