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EX-NHL Enforcer Wade Belak Found Dead — Third NHL Death in Three Months

Wade Belak
Christian Petersen, Getty Images

For the third time this summer, the NHL community is reeling from the tragic loss of a current or former player.

This time it was 35-year-old former Nashville Predator Wade Belak, who was found dead on Wednesday.

Belak retired this past spring with just 33 points in his 15-year career. Some reports say suicide was the cause of death, but that has not yet been confirmed.

Belak’s death follows that of Rick Rypien, who died at the age of 27 earlier this month, and Derek Boogaard who died in May at 28. These deaths have led to renewed pressure for the NHL to review its substance abuse and behavioral health program.

Three deaths to enforcers in the span of just a couple months may lead the league to reconsider its fighting rules and policies. Evidently, all that abuse is taking its toll on the players. But if Belak suffered, he did it in silence — those who knew him say he was a pleasure to be around.

[Associated Press]

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