Wade Belak Found Dead

It has been a tough off-season for hockey fans and the bad news continues. Former NHLer Wade Belak was found dead in his Toronto apartment Wednesday. The cause of death has not been officially determined as of now.

A Nashville Predators spokesman released the news. “The entire Nashville Predators organization and family is shocked and saddened by the sudden and untimely passing of Wade Belak. Wade was a beloved member of the organization, a terrific teammate and wonderful father and husband who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Jennifer and children Andie and Alex. We offer our full support to them at this very difficult time,” the team said in a statement.

“All players and NHLPA staff are sincerely saddened and shocked by the passing of former member Wade Belak,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement. “His affable personality made him popular with teammates, fans and media, and he was a hardworking, respected member of the Association. He will undoubtedly be greatly missed throughout the entire hockey community. Our deepest condolences go out to Wade’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”

Belak, 35, played in 15 games with the Predators last season. In his 14 seasons in the National Hockey League, he played for Nashville, Toronto, Florida, Calgary, and Colorado. In 549 career games, Belak scored eight goals and added 25 assists. He also had 1,293 penalty minutes.

Largely known as a tough guy, Belak’s career depended on his fists and on absorbing punishment.

Georges Laraque, another former NHL tough guy, spoke about Belak’s passing on TSN Radio today. “Now I think people will realize the tough job of playing in the NHL and the tough job of being a heavyweight,” he said. “It takes a lot mentally. It’s really hard…When you retire after being a heavyweight for as many years as you played, most of those guys didn’t make [much] money, so there’s no options for them after. So, after you have all this pressure of playing and fighting for a living, now you have to fight to live when life after hockey is over.”

Belak’s passing follows the recent passing of Rick Rypien and the overdose death of Derek Boogaard, marking the third player who played active minutes in the league last season to pass away in this off-season. Each of the now-deceased players shares something in common.

Drawing comparisons and links between the requirements of being an enforcer in the NHL and these deaths may seem crass to some, but there is a discussion to be had here. With the revelations of degenerative brain disease discovered from the examination of Bob Probert’s brain to the rash of concussions that have seriously impacted the seasons of Marc Savard and Sidney Crosby, it’s time for the game to have a serious look at how well it protects its players – on and off the ice.

The fans who revel in their heroics on the ice understand that life goes on beyond the game, for the most part, but some often neglect to recognize the humanity under the pads and gloves. Belak’s passing highlights the human equation, marking yet another sad occasion in what is becoming an increasingly tragic summer.

Published by HockeyDraft.ca

The leading fantasy hockey pool website. Check out us at http://hockeydraft.ca/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: