Dead Hockey Enforcer's Family Sues NHL

Lawsuit blames league for Derek Boogaard's death

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2013 3:19 AM CDT | Updated May 13, 2013 5:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – The NHL has been hit with a wrongful-death lawsuit from the family of New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died two years ago this week from an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol. After his death, the 28-year-old was found to have suffered brain damage from a disease caused by repeated blows to the head, and the lawsuit blames the league both for the brain injuries and Boogaard's addiction to painkillers.

The lawsuit says the NHL "breached its duty" to Boogaard by failing to suspend or discipline him after he failed drug tests, and by allowing and encouraging him to play—and fight—in the same game even after receiving concussions. "To distill this to one sentence you take a young man, you subject him to trauma, you give him pills for that trauma, he becomes addicted to those pills, you promise to treat him for that addiction, and you fail," a lawyer for the Boogaard family tells the New York Times.

In this Nov. 4, 2010 photo, the Philadelphia Flyers' Jody Shelley, left, and the New York Rangers' Derek Boogaard fight during an NHL hockey game in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
This Jan. 30, 2009, file photo shows then-Minnesota Wild left wing Derek Boogaard getting hit by Edmonton Oilers left wing Steve MacIntyre in a fight during an NHL game in Edmonton.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jimmy Jeong, File)
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It’s easy to watch a game
and see these guys as superhuman.
And they are not. - William Gibbs, Boogaard family lawyer

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