The passing of Wade Belak on Wednesday in Toronto sent an all-too-familiar shockwave through the hockey community.
Indeed, 2011 has been a challenging year for the NHL.
It all started on January 1st, when Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby fell victim to a blindside hit during the Winter Classic. He played part of his team’s next game, but hasn’t played since. It’s now eight months later and he still hasn’t been able to shake his concussion symptoms.
A few weeks after the hit on Crosby, Marc Savard suffered another concussion. The Boston Bruins playmaker became the face of a growing problem in the NHL when he was blindsided by Penguins forward Matt Cooke in March of 2010. He didn’t play again until December of that year, and after this latest concussion, it doesn’t look like he’ll ever play again.
Things took a much darker turn a few months later in May when NY Rangers tough guy Derek Boogaard, who had missed most of the season with a concussion, was found dead in his apartment. It was later determined that he died of an accidental overdose of painkillers and alcohol. READ MORE… (more…)