RIP #37

Thomas Drance
August 15 2011 07:42PM

James Mirtle tweeted the news this evening that Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home today. The cause of death is not yet known, but we'll update this post as we get more information.

In his time with the Canucks, Rick Rypien was the definition of a warrior, and one of the best technical fighters I've ever seen on hockey-skates. His ability to fight larger guys (Rypien was a shade under 6 feet), and not just hold his own - but often win - won him a special place in the hearts of Vancouver Canucks fans. 

He captained the Regina Pats and was named team MVP in the 2002-03 season. Undrafted our of junior, he earned his way onto the Moose, and then the Canucks, with his scrappy play between the whistles and his penchant for igniting the crowd with his calculated, skillful belligerence post-whistle.

After grabbing a fan at a Minnesota Wild game in early October of the most recent season - Rypien was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the team. The cause of his disappearance was never revealed - but Canucks fans were rooting for the young man to turn his life around. He'd recently signed a deal with the new Winnipeg Jets. He was 27 years old.

#37 will be remembered fondly for his contributions to the Canucks organization, to the city and for his colorful personality. We wish the Rypien family all the best in their time of need.

Update (12:19 AM EST): here's the Canucks press statement regarding Rypien's passing.

Here are some memorable Rick Rypien highlights:

Rick Rypien with a beauty assist on a Michael Grabner goal in the 2010 playoffs.

Rick Rypien takes on 6,7 Hal Gill "he's going to need a ladder."

Rick Rypien manhandles Zach Stortini:

Rick Rypien 1984-2011

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Cam Davie
August 16 2011, 08:44AM
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There is a reason why guys like Rypien are fan favourites. What they lack in skill, they make up for in spades with guts, determination and willingness to do the dirtiest work on the ice.

It was obvious that he was going through some major personal problems, and had been for many years.

The Canucks did what they could to help. We all hope that they did their very best to help Rick. But, in the end, it wasn't enough.

I read on Twitter from someone last night... the next time you hear thunder, that's the sound of Boogaard and Rypien throwing knuckles in heaven.

Absolutely.

RIP #37.

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#2 Marc Noiseux
August 15 2011, 08:47PM
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Wow, when I first saw the news I was shocked and I just couldn't believe it. Rick was a great player, a great enforcer in the game. I was really looking forward to him joining the Jets organization. I wish his friends and family all the best for the future. Rick will be missed, but not forgotten.

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#3 Kent Wilson
August 15 2011, 09:50PM
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I'm not one to call for outright bans of things, but...the pure "enforcer" role needs to be done away with, once and for all in the NHL. A pure top-down solution probably won't work if the NHL/hockey culture doesn't condone it so it's more on players, coaches and GM's to look at the game and say "this doesn't work. It isn't worth the costs to the player."

Goons don't play in the playoffs. They don't play in all-star games or the Olympics. They don't play when it matters and for good reason. Their job is brutal, frightening and can take a terrible toll. For no good reason.

Condolences to Rypien's family and friends. Can't imagine what they're going through right now.

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#4 Coco Crisp
August 15 2011, 11:20PM
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@Kent Wilson

There is a time and place to discuss that, not now.

I was a big fan of this guy. Played the game tough. I was shocked to hear the news tonight. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest Easy big guy.

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#5 Kent Wilson
August 15 2011, 11:39PM
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@Coco Crisp

I can't imagine when it would be more relevant.

That said, I understand condolences to the bereaved should be the primary focus right now.

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