This isn't really going to be much of an article. But I've found that fanposts are more conducive to open conversation than fanshots.
Very sad news for the NHL today in what has been a very sad offseason. This news is very recent and the story is still developing, but Wade Belak was just found dead; adding to the list of hockey players to pass on this last offseason. The one thing I want to bring up is that all three of the players who have passed this offseason starting from mid-May were all enforcers. Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and now Wade Belak have all passed away.
I'm not sure exactly what this means because all three passed under sudden and mysterious circumstances. But there could definitely be something more to the enforcer role that we are not aware of. The life of an enforcer is rough for many reasons:
1. Enforcers move all over the place. Enforcers are often cut or traded for low draft picks and can float between 3-7 teams throughout their career
2. Enforcers don't get paid well in comparison to other players. Enforcers get paid between league minimum and $1 million a season.
3. Enforcers only play a few minutes a game and fight a lot. You won't read about enforcers a lot or see them on the scoresheet.
I'm not sure what it is about enforcers that is causing this string of deaths this summer. It could perhaps be depression due to a career with a low ceiling and being generally unnoticed. Or maybe it could be brain damage related due to the amount of punishment they take. Or maybe it's all just coincidence (although the sociologist within me refuses to believe that). The role of the enforcer has always been under a lot of scrutiny due to the controversial nature of fighting in the NHL. Regardless, i still think enforcers are taking for granted and are under appreciated. They may not score goals or get paid much, but they are still NHL hockey players and above all else, are still human beings.
Since I can't admit to knowing much about the life of an enforcer, any insight anyone has to add on this subject would be greatly appreciated. This is just a fanpost to create awareness of the deaths of these enforcers and to create healthy dialogue. As it says in the title, this is an open forum.
Boogaard, Rypien, and Belak: You will be missed and we appreciate the services you all gave to the NHL, even though it may have the NHL itself that led to your deaths.