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Death of former Regina Pats captain 'not suspicious'
CTV News.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:48AM CST
Police say the death of former Regina Pats captain Rick Rypien is "sudden, but not suspicious."
The Winnipeg Jets confirmed the 27-year-old forward's death late Monday night.
"We are deeply saddened to confirm Rick's passing," the statement from the NHL team read. "We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Rypien family as well as Rick's friends."
RCMP in Crowsnest Pass, Alta., said they were called at 12:30 p.m. local time Monday about a "sudden and non-suspicious" death.
Rypien was the second active NHL pugilist to be found dead this off-season. New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard died in May after taking an accidentally fatal mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.
Rypien played four seasons with the Regina Pats, scoring 22 goals as captain in his final year.
"Rick was a tremendous friend, teammate and role model during his time in Regina," Pats president Brent Parker said in a statement.
"He epitomized everything we want our young men to be as people and as players."
Rypien had signed with the Jets in July after spending parts of six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, where his career suffered setbacks as he struggled with personal issues.
The enforcer only played nine games last season with the Canucks, and he left the team to deal with undisclosed personal issues. He later returned to the team's AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose.
Rypien made headlines last October for shoving a Minnesota Wild fan after being thrown out of a game. He was given a six-game suspension.
Former and current teammates took to Twitter to express their condolences after learning of Rypien's death.
"Sad to hear about Rick Rypien," Jets captain Andrew Ladd posted. "I was looking forward to playing with him in Winnipeg. Thoughts are with his family and friends."
Rypien was the cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, the Super Bowl XXVI MVP.
With files from The Canadian Press
Rick Rypien warms up before facing the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL hockey game in Denver, April 11, 2009. (AP / David Zalubowski)