Three NHL players have died in the last four months, and as the hockey community grieves the tragic loss of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, the league and the NHL Players Association have vowed to search for answers.
From a joint statement released late Thursday by the NHL and the PA:
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."
It's certainly too early to find a direct link between the deaths of these three players, but one thing is for certain: they're all hockey players that had some sort of issues with the mental state. After all, how else do we explain a drug overdose and two suicides? Hopefully the NHL and the NHLPA can find some solutions and some answers for a community that's desperately in need of some.