The family of a National Hockey League player who died of an accidental overdose of pain medication and alcohol has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL, blaming it for brain damage he suffered as an enforcer and for his addiction to prescription painkillers.
It has taken years to reach this point, but the combination of medicine, awareness, tragedy and marketing sense has pushed hockey to the brink of real culture change.
Former Predator Wade Belak, an enforcer who had played with five NHL teams before retiring in March, was found dead Wednesday in Toronto. He was 35.
Derek Boogaard’s family has donated his brain to researchers who will check for damage that might have resulted from his career as an NHL enforcer.
It may be weeks before authorities know exactly how and why New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died, although foul play is not immediately suspected.