Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Absolutely awful news from Coleman, Alberta this evening, as Rick Rypien was found dead in his home by a family member. The RCMP has declared the death unsuspicious; News 1130 is reporting that Rypien took his own life. There are no words. What follows is a pathetic attempt to say something about a tragedy over which there is seemingly nothing profound to speak.

Canuck fans likely remember the mystery surrounding Rypien’s two personal leaves, both of which were sudden, unexplained, and prolonged. You may also remember Rypien’s optimism after he returned from his most recent leave last March, bearded and excited. Whatever his issues, most seemed to believe they were behind him. Unfortunately, they may have caught back up to him.

The Canucks issued the following statement in regards to Rypien’s passing:

“It is with tremendous sadness that the Vancouver Canucks confirm the passing of Rick Rypien. Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks family for the past six years. Rick was a great teammate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time.”

Rypien will be given the “former Canuck” label in all formal media reports because he signed with the Winnipeg Jets just under a month and a half ago, but that’s not right. The Vancouver Canucks were the only NHL team he ever suited up for. As far as I’m concerned, Rypien died a Canuck. Mind you, it doesn’t matter who he plays for, because this has nothing to do with hockey. Sometimes we forget that these athletes, skilful, fit and practiced though they may be, are just people — that they struggle with the same problems as anybody, that they’re just as fragile, just as human. It’s absolutely devastating to be reminded in such a sickening fashion. Rick Rypien will be missed and mourned.

Let’s wrap things up with some good memories. Here’s a 2008 video of Rypien working out to make the Canucks’ roster:

Here’s a video of a sweet Rick Rypien goal:

And here’s a video of a sweet Rick Rypien fight:

Speaking of fighting, Arctic Ice Hockey once examined Rypien’s unique style, which involved a tactical protection of his face. It allowed him to win fights against larger opponents, such as, in one classic bout, the behemoth Hal Gill:

 

Okay, now stop sitting around on the Internet. Go find someone you love. Tell them you love them. Be thankful you found them.

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14 comments

  1. peanutflower
    August 15, 2011

    Beautiful. So sad :(

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  2. Tom
    August 15, 2011

    I just want to say something about Rick Rypien. though I don`t like fighting in hockey at all, I appreciated his dedication to the team, according to what he was able to give. it`s very sad news that I just heard that he was found dead.

    something that encourages me in times like this: `is death really the end?` http://www.watchtower.org/e/200712/article_02.htm

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    • Blake
      August 15, 2011

      Totally sick that you would use this as an opportunity to push your particular religion’s propaganda. Get a life.

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  3. BECanucks
    August 15, 2011

    It’s a sad gathering.
    Adieu Rick.

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  4. C.K.
    August 15, 2011

    Shocked, stunned, dismayed to hear that Rick Rypien has moved on; as you put it so well, he is and always will be a Canuck. Whatever demons he fought, I hope he is free from them now.

    Rest in peace Rick.

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  5. Sarah
    August 15, 2011

    So sad. My heart is with the Rypien family tonight and everyone else battling their demons.

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  6. kwame mugabue
    August 16, 2011

    perhaps one could feel some empathy or real heartfelt sorrow if we understood what his problem was. In the end he was a journeyman, less than 2 minutes per game in penalties, was a punching bag the odd occassion, but is he worthy of this heartfelt emotion? I personally beleive if you knew the person and his demons you would be painting him just as you have bacon et all.

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    • nuckluck
      August 16, 2011

      Is this in reference to the Bacon brothers who buy & sell drugs? The same idiots involved with countless murders and criminal actions? The same trio (duo) who have terrorized a community?

      Yeah, I can understand your logic, I don’t see the difference between a young kid with dreams who worked hard his entire life to play in the NHL and a low-life that doesn’t understand the word “respect”, yet expects it? A loser who took the easy way to make money instead of working hard and doing it the ‘right’ way… LEGALLY.

      Your right! How can people show respect for Rypien and not have the same respect for a murdering, drug-dealing criminal!

      Nobody wants to see people die… especially when they are in their prime (this would be the ONLY similarity between the two), but the Bacon’s chose their profession. Murder and death is a LARGE part of the Bacon’s profession…

      Kwame, it’s apples and oranges…..

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  7. Sach
    August 16, 2011

    We love you and will always remember you Rick. Rest in peace :(

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  8. Raj
    August 16, 2011

    i was shocked, to say the least, Ripper was a great person, and had some trouble and issues, but who doesnt?
    This is another tragic death in the rganization, and i want him to rest in peace.

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  9. bergberg
    August 16, 2011

    So sad to hear the news this morning. My thoughts are with the Rypien family, as I know how hard a time this is. We recently lost someone in a similar manner, and it is just devastating. Rest in peace Rick.

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  10. J21
    August 16, 2011

    I didn’t read it until this morning but it still hasn’t really sunk in.

    I always liked Rypien, and I thought he was a better player than people gave him credit for — he actually scored a few rather nice goals in his very limited minutes. Remember how he in fact scored on his first NHL shot during his first NHL shift? The boy did have some hands, and he didn’t always use them to fight.

    On that topic, while I am not a fan of fighting in hockey, he was something to behold — the way he took on (and took down) guys seemingly twice his size with his technical prowess. He looked like a 14-year old when he broke into the league, but my, looks can be deceiving! The fight with the gigantic Boris Valabik two seasons ago was nuts — though he didn’t really pound him into submission, he did edge him out in that one.

    I was happy to see Rypien sign another NHL contract as it was nice to see he’d have a place in the league, in a familiar city, with Tanner Glass as a teammate to boot. So soon after he’d pronounced himself back and ready to go. Things really seemed to be on an upswing with him. This just wasn’t expected.

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  11. Rituro
    August 16, 2011

    RIP Ripper… my favourite moment of his will always be how Tom Larscheid never shied away from calling him “THE RRRRRRIPPER, Rick Rypien!” with as much gusto as he could fit in.

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  12. Zach Morris
    August 17, 2011

    terribly saddening news.
    Rypien’s fire and drive was inspiring to all who watched him.
    I’ll miss you, Rick.

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