Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Memorial Service in Vancouver Today for Rick Rypien, 27

It is terrifically sad that this offseason has seen another untimely passing of a hockey player, not overly talented but much beloved.

In May, it was Derek Boogaard of the Rangers; this week, it was Rick Rypien, who was about to report to the Winnipeg Jets.

Instead of lacing up his skates, today, at the Rogers Centre, Vancouver fans arrived to pay tribute to Rypien, who was found dead on Monday.

Renowned for being a rough and tumble player at 5'9", he also got a lot of attention for roughing up a fan during a game with the Minnesota Wild last October, which garnered him with a 6 game suspension.

I think everyday, the longer you’re here, the more you play, e
veryday you wake up and feel how very fortunate you
are and very grateful. -- 11/16/10 interview

He had last played for the Canucks but was getting ready to join his new team, the Winnipeg Jets, within the day.

Like Derek Boogaard, his death came as a surprise and can be attributable to illness.

An enforcer on the ice like Derek, Rypien's death also brought out an outpouring of grief from teammates at all levels of his hockey career and from the passionate hockey fans of Vancouver.

This article from the Vancouver Sun is touching and delves into some of the reasons he may have been depressed.

A memorial was set up at the Rogers Centre and pictures have been posted throughout the day.

Perhaps the most moving tribute is this letter that someone posted that imagines Rypien reuniting with Luc Bourdon, the 21 year old former Canuck player, who died nearly 3 years ago in a motorcycle accident:

"The ice goes on forever and it's so smooth it's as if a
zamboni is always one stride ahead of him."

R.I.P., Rick Rypien, and we send our condolences to his family, friends and fellow fans.

Below are some other photos.

--- The Graying Mantis

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