‘I do not need folks to neglect him’: Derek Boogaard’s mom protecting former NHLer’s reminiscence alive

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Eight years in the past, Derek Boogaard handed away from an unintended overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. And whereas his mom, Joanne, retains his reminiscence alive via annual letters within the native newspaper, she waits for the NHL to take “some kind of accountability” for her son’s dying.Derek Boogaard|Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesEvery yr round this time, Joanne Boogaard buys some house within the Regina Chief-Put up and writes a letter to her son, Derek. She lets him know that the household nonetheless celebrates his birthday yearly and that there’s all the time a spot put aside for him at Christmas. She will get him on top of things on the place life is taking all of his household and prolonged household and she or he tells her son how a lot she nonetheless misses him.
This yr, she did it for the eighth time. “Remembering you is simple,” she stated on this yr’s message. “Tears fall from my eyes, my coronary heart aches, however once I bear in mind the completely happy instances we had, a smile involves my face, so many feelings.”
Derek Boogaard, the previous enforcer for the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers, died eight years in the past Monday from an unintended overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. Since that point, the Boogaard household has fought for the NHL to just accept some accountability in his dying to nearly no avail. Separate lawsuits introduced in opposition to the NHL and NHL Gamers’ Affiliation had been each dismissed in court docket, the one in opposition to the union as a result of the choose dominated the Boogaards waited too lengthy to file their declare and the wrongful dying lawsuit in opposition to the league on procedural grounds. The household was provided the identical $22,000 different former gamers had been provided as a part of the $18.9 million settlement of the concussion lawsuit in opposition to the NHL, an quantity Joanne Boogaard stated the household declined to just accept. “That’s a slap within the face,” she stated. “That’s a slap within the face. That’s not what we wish.”
Jordan Hart, the son of former NHLer Garry Hart, was charged with one rely of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in relation to the case and acquired one-year probation. Oscar Johnson, the previous doctor’s assistant with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL, who allegedly provided the tablets to Hart, who then gave them to Boogaard, was charged with 26 counts of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and one rely of creating a false assertion. Johnson pled responsible to one of many counts in 2015 and has but to be sentenced. He has since been charged with forcible sodomy and object rape in one other matter. Boogaard’s brother, Aaron, was charged with interfering with the scene of a dying and acquired a stayed sentence.
The yearly letters Joanne Boogaard writes are, after all, cathartic, however in addition they assist hold the reminiscence of her son alive. She additionally does it to make it possible for since there hasn’t been a lot accountability round her son’s dying, it’s necessary that folks bear in mind him. “Why do I do it?” Joanne Boogaard instructed TheHockeyNews.com. “As a result of I don’t need folks to neglect him. I don’t need his dying to be accomplished, forgotten, gone. Folks must remember. He’s not an remoted case.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has doubled- and tripled-down on his stance that there isn’t any direct hyperlink between a number of concussions and continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Simply as lately as two weeks in the past, Bettman instructed a Canadian parliamentary subcommittee on concussions in sports activities: “I don’t consider, primarily based on every little thing I’ve been instructed, and if anyone has info on the contrary we’d be completely happy to listen to it, apart from some anecdotal proof, there hasn’t been that conclusive hyperlink.” Given the league’s victories in each the Boogaard case and the category motion lawsuit, that stance has served Bettman and the league very effectively.
Joanne Boogaard stated she has solely spoken with Bettman as soon as, shortly after her son’s dying, and has admittedly “stored fairly quiet.” However the wounds additionally nonetheless run very deep and the passage of time hasn’t blunted her emotions that the league and people round her son may have accomplished way more to forestall his dying. “Bettman has swept it below the carpet. Every little thing,” she stated. “Every little thing Derek went via. Goodness me, they handled him. Now would your child wish to be handled that method? Did Derek wish to be handled that method? I’ll hold going till Bettman takes some kind of accountability as a substitute of, ‘No, no, no.’ ”
The anniversary of Derek Boogaard’s dying all the time comes round Mom’s Day and this yr her household received collectively the best way they do yearly. Her son could be 37 in June if he had been nonetheless alive. Joanne Boogaard wonders what might need been had her son not died that evening in Minnesota and the choice shouldn’t be very interesting, even when he had lived and been in a position to get his life on observe. “I’d most likely be altering his diapers in a few years,” she stated, referring to the CTE present in his mind after his dying that indicated he would have had dementia by center age. “And that’s a tough capsule to swallow.”

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Tags: minnesota wild, ny rangers, nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. For sure, it did not work out.

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