Elizabeth Merrill at ESPN New York gives us some insight into what Derek Boogaard was dealing with during his brief tenure in New York…
“The New York Rangers signed his checks, but the Canadian’s heart was always in the Twin Cities. In Manhattan, he could walk around for six hours and nobody recognized him. He hated that, the isolation he felt after he had signed with the Rangers this past summer. People close to Boogaard say he was bored and lonely in New York. When he suffered a season-ending concussion in December, things got even worse. He didn’t leave his apartment for three weeks, shunning the light, and had containers of takeout food piling up on the counters.”
Merrill further details Boogaards post concussion syndrome….
“In the months that followed, Boogaard wore sunglasses nearly everywhere because of light-sensitivity issues. He would become ill in the back of cars, his world spinning. Devin Wilson, a former junior hockey teammate who was his roommate in New York, said Boogaard would hold his head in agony during those dizzy spells and ask the cab driver to stop. Then they’d walk dozens of blocks, sometimes uphill, to reach his apartment on Manhattan’s West Side.”
…wow. Just sort of stunned by all this.
Merrill adds that Boogaard was also dealing with numerous physical issues from his time before signing with the Rangers…
“Long before his head hit the ice Dec. 9 in a game against Ottawa, the last game Boogaard would ever play, the man who was paid to scare, intimidate and pummel his opponents was dealing with his own share of pain. He broke his nose numerous times, which, coupled with his massive 265-pound physique, made him snore so loud that road roommates bought earplugs and pelted him with pillows. He had two bulging discs, and broke his jaw, his hand and some teeth.
He suffered two concussions in the past two seasons alone, but people close to Boogaard believe he probably had more. Boogaard had a tough-guy job, and for decades, an enforcer’s mentality was to rub a little dirt on any injury and skate on. Enforcers didn’t use the word concussion. They said they got their bell rung.”
Merrill also recounts the events of his last night alive in Minnesota.
…this is a must read if you want to know what exactly was going on with Boogaard leading up to his death.