After missing much of last season due to personal reasons, Rypien signed with the Winnipeg Jets this summer. Rypien had an eventful season before that, almost getting into an altercation with a Minnesota Wild fan and subsequently being suspended.
Rypien also battled depression, but it seemed like he was working through his issues and ready for a fresh start.
"...Now 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," Rypien told the Winnipeg Free Press after signing with the Jets. "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.
"It came down to the character those guys have and how much they believe in me and the opportunity they’ve given me and how much they’ve stuck by me and their loyalty.
"I just wanted to be loyal back to them. I’m truly excited and grateful."
Rypien also spoke of his past and how he was putting it behind him.
"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," he said. "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."
It's always tough to see someone go so young and particularly sad because it seemed from the outside that Rypien, 27, was getting better.
Rypien joins another NHL tough guy, Derek Boogaard, in being taken too soon. RIP Rypien and we send our thoughts and well-wishes to the Rypien family during this tough time.
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