Word out of New York tonight is that Rangers Forward Derek Boogaard has passed away suddenly.

According to an early report:

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New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was found dead in his apartment. That’s according to the Minneapolis Star Trbune’s Michael Russo.

Russo reported the news of Boogard’s passing on Twitter on just after 8 PM MST Friday night:

"@Russostrib: Awful news: Derek Boogaard was found dead today in his Minneapolis apartment by members of his family. He was 28. #mnwild #nyrangers"

Russo said the 28-year-old was found dead in his apartment by his family.

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Regarded by many in the NHL as one of the premiere heavyweights in the game Boogard just finished his sixth season in the NHL, his first in New York with the Rangers. Prior to that, he had spent five NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild.

A release from the NY Rangers has since confirmed the news:

"The New York Rangers are very saddened to announce the passing of Derek Boogaard. Derek Boogaard is shown in this photo after he scored an unforgettable goal for the Rangers against Washington on Nov. 9, 2010, at MSG.

“Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual,” said New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather. “He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates during this difficult time.”

Boogaard began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 career games with the Wild from 2005-06 – 2009-10. He joined the New York Rangers on July 1, 2010, appearing in 22 games in the 2010-11 season. Throughout his career, Boogaard sought to make a difference in the communities he played in, taking part in numerous charitable endeavors.

Boogaard was a supporter of the Defending the Blue Line Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation whose mission is to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the great sport of hockey. While with the Rangers, he created “Boogaard’s Booguardians,” hosting military members and their families at all New York Ranger home games.

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In addition, he made multiple appearances with partner organizations of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment and Fuse “to make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles”.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native was originally Minnesota’s seventh round choice, 202nd overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft."

A string on HFboards discussing Boogaard’s passing can be seen here.

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