Image courtesy vancitybuzz.com.
A year ago today, former pint-sized Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien, who had spent much of his adult life battling mental illness, was found dead in his Alberta home. While he wasn’t an offensive star by any means, Rypien was the best pound-for-pound fighter I’ve ever seen in the NHL, and he wasn’t a one-dimensional thug either, he could legitimately play. His skill set and on-ice personality endeared him to Canucks fans, who have felt his loss deeply over the past twelve months.
While Rypien’s life ended far too soon, his memory lives on and continues to have a positive impact on Vancouver’s hockey fans and the community. In the year since Rypien passed away, he’s been commemorated by fans and the team, he’s inspired songs, and the Canucks organization set up mindcheck.ca, a wonderful cause and a resource designed spread awareness about mental illness.
Today outside Rogers Arena, there will be a fan rally in honour of Rypien’s memory and a silent auction (with all proceeds going to mindcheck.ca). The event is already underway, but I’m told that there will be fans on Griffiths Way until around 6PM this evening and I’d encourage you to check it out.
If you’re like me, and you can’t be there, visit Mindcheck.ca today and maybe if you’re able, consider donating some money. I did so this morning, donating $37 dollars in honour of Rick Rypien’s positive legacy. I also donated it for my friend Jamie, lost to the world six years ago in similar circumstances. Perhaps others like Jamie and Rick, who battle depression or other types of mental illness in their day-to-day lives will benefit as a result of programs like mindcheck. That’s the hope. That has to be the light in the darkness.
Our thoughts today are with Rick’s teammates, his loved ones and his family. Thank you for sharing Rick with us.