Courtesy of Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the family of the late Derek Boogaard along with roughly 350 saddened Wild fans gathered in front of the Xcel Energy Center yesterday evening to pay their respects and say their goodbyes at an impromptu memorial. Amongst the heart felt words spoken by family, close friends and teammates, Boogaard was characterized as a “gentle giant” and a “teddy bear,” stark contrasts to his on-ice persona. However, the people that knew him well knew how big Boogaard heart was.
It’s heart-warming to see another fan base be so passionate about a former player’s sudden passing and really shows the heart & soul of the dedicated NHL fan. As a Rangers’ fan, I feel we never got the chance to get to know Derek Boogaard the way the Minnesota Wild fans did. Had we, I’m sure we would’ve loved and appreciated more what Derek Boogaard brought to the New York Rangers on and off the ice. It’s up to us to uphold the great albeit short memories of Derek Boogaard.