The recent deaths of NHL tough guys Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak, a combination of events that have been so shocking it's difficult to even know what to say about them, have prompted the league and the player's union to release an official statement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
STATEMENT FROM NHL COMMISSIONER GARY BETTMAN AND NHLPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DON FEHR
NEW YORK/TORONTO (September 1, 2011) -- The following statement was released jointly today by Don Fehr, Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, and Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League:
"Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of his life.
"While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are deemed warranted.
"It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance. We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.
"NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective."
While the preceding statement didn't give specifics, at least the NHL and NHLPA recognize that something needs to be done. Will they actually do anything meaningful? We will see.
In the meantime, there has been a lot of speculation, conjecture, and postulating about what contributed to the horrific deaths. Should the NHL ban fighting because of this?
There is an interesting AP story at the following link: