NHL Player Rick Rypien Showed no Sign of Trouble Prior to Death

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NHL player Rick Rypien, 27, was discovered dead in his Coleman residence on Monday, August 15. Sgt. Patrick Webb of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) who acted on the police report did not disclose where the body was seen in the house and who made the call to the police. But he clearly stated that the death is “sudden and non-suspicious”.

Last season, Rypien fought with depression which led into an absence leave from the Vancouver Canucks .The time was given for him to get appropriate treatment. So, this summer, everything was looking better for him mainly because of his newly signed 1-year contract amounting to $700,000 under the Winnipeg Jets. Choosing the Jets among other better offers was like homecoming to him since he started out in Manitoba during his early pro days. His energetic style earned him a lot of fans in that area.

The news of his death came as a shock and brought a huge wave of questions to the family and friends of Rick. Allain Roy, Rypien’s agent, relayed that he exchanged text messages with the player two days before he died and that as a matter of fact, he was bound for Winnipeg the day after.

According to Roy, at that time, everything looked positive and that Rypien was eager to play through the season, thrilled to return to Winnipeg, move in and get settled. He felt that if there had been any issue, Rypien had done a great job hiding them.

The esteem and marks of respect that have been given and said about the young athlete after his death showed two contrasting sides of his personality – as a popular, tough, and well-loved player by his teammates and as a regular, kind, generous and gentle guy off the ice.

In a tribute given by his agent, Allain Roy, Rick was described as a “warrior” on the ice, being the guy known for standing up for his teammates every time. He was also described as “extremely tough.”

He then added that off the ice, Rypien was a a generous guy who enjoyed putting on hockey schools for kids. He was also reportedly always trying to please other people.

Rick Rypien, who was only 5’11 and 195 lbs then, got into the National Hockey League in 2005 under the Vancouver Canucks after getting signed previously by Manitoba Moose GM Craig Heisinger to a contract with the American Hockey League. Rypien was tough, ready and knows how to fight. According to Heisinger, this was a characteristic he learned from growing up with a boxer father. Aside from his hardy attitude, Rypien was also known for his speed. Rypien’s best year with the Vancouver Canucks was in 2009-2010, during which time he scored 4 goals and 126 penalty minutes in sixty-nine games.

In a press conference held last Tuesday, Heisinger furthermore expressed his regret of Rypien’s death. He described Rick who was truly excited to play for the Jets and return to Manitoba. He continued saying that he and other people in Rick’s support group did not sense that the player was having problems. Right now, Rypien’s family and friends are facing the reality that they might never find out what actually caused Rypien to end his life.

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