Derek Boogaard: Goodbye to a Giant, Fan Favorite and Enforcer Passes Away at 28

Mitch MarekContributor IIMay 13, 2011

ST. PAUL, MN - DECEMBER 31:  Jody Shelley #45 of the San Jose Sharks and Derek Boogaard #24 of the Minnesota Wild square off to fight December 31, 2008 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Terrible news just hit the hockey waves this evening.  Controversial enforcer and gentle giant Derek Boogaard was discovered dead by his family members Friday.

Per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo twitter: "Awful news: Derek Boogaard was found dead today in his Minneapolis apartment by members of his family. He was 28."

As more details unfold, fans will remember Boogaard as a Minnesota favorite, most feared fighter in the league, and charitable citizen off the ice.

During a time in the NHL when the days of the heavyweight fight were drawing to a close, Derek Boogaard captivated the hearts of thousands of fans. 

No one was left sitting when the colossus dropped his gloves and raised his fists for an old-fashioned bout with Jody Shelley or Donald Brashear.

Making his NHL debut during the 2005-2006 season,  Boogaard endeared himself to fans with his aggressive, massive checks and heavyweight fighting style.  Whenever Boogey hit the ice, roars echoed throughout the arena. 

After spending four years in Minnesota, Derek took his talent and intimidation to Broadway, playing for the Rangers in the 2010-2011 season.

A folk hero in Minnesota, though his ice time was minor, Boogaard will be sorely missed. Most of the jerseys worn around the state still proudly display No. 24.  A true class act off the ice, his spirit will live on through his fans.

While the hockey world mourns the loss of one of the last great heavyweights in the NHL, let's all keep No. 24 and his family in our thoughts and prayers.