Tag: Rick Rypien


NHLers honor Rypien with charity game


On Thursday, a handful of NHLers paid tribute to Rick Rypien with a charity hockey game in Rypien’s hometown of Coleman, Alberta.

The game — held a year to the day of Rypien’s passing — featured Kevin Bieksa, Tanner Glass, Darcy Hordichuk, and Kris Versteeg. The 27-year-old Rypien was found dead in his home on Aug. 15, 2011 — it was learned after his passing that he’d been battling depression.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Rick, and I am thankful for the opportunity to join his family and friends in an evening celebrating his legacy,” said Bieksa in a statement. “Coaching and visiting with these kids gave us a chance to remember what was important to Rick: giving back to kids through the sport of hockey.”

Bieksa has been instrumental in the startup and development of Mindcheck, a website that helps recognize symptoms and better understand the challenges of mental illness.

It was another of the initiatives that came from the tragedy of Rypien’s passing, something Bieksa has been passionate about.

“I obviously have a personal interest invested in this and it’s near and dear to my heart to carry on his legacy,” Bieksa said of Mindcheck back in January. “I went through it with him the last few years and understand the struggles and mental health challenges and how underestimated it can be and how overlooked, too.

“There’s still not a lot of conversation out there and we’re trying to raise awareness and erase the stigma associated with it. Hopefully, we don’t have to see anybody else go through something like that.”


Kevin Bieksa pays tribute to Rick Rypien with Mindcheck.ca

Canucks to honor Rick Rypien

Gordie Howe’s son says talk of dementia is “overblown”

Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe’s son Marty admits that his famous father is dealing with memory loss and other issues, but tells Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province that a Canadian Press story detailing the hockey legend’s supposed fight with dementia is “overblown.”

Marty Howe said that the story “made his life a living hell” on Thursday, but he did admit that Gordie’s symptoms could “turn into” dementia. He spoke based on his experience from watching his mother and Gordie’s wife Colleen Howe fight the disease.

“It it was actually dementia, he’d be dead already,” Marty Howe said. “It’s just the way the disease works.”

Marty states that Gordie is doing about as well as one could expect for a man who’s about to turn 84 years old, but also remarked that it’s unlikely that the legend will speak with reporters very often.


The Canadian Press report’s claims about dementia might be off-base according to Marty, but there were still some relevant takeaways from the article.

More than $16 million has been raised by the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s, and an upcoming series of golf tournaments across Canada is expected to raise a lot more.

But with all the talk surrounding concussions in the NHL today, Marty doesn’t want his father’s condition automatically linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the same progressive degenerative disease that deceased NHL enforcers Bob Probert and Derek Boogaard were found to have suffered from.

“I don’t think anybody can really answer that question,” Marty said of a connection to CTE. “He went for so long without any symptoms whatsoever. You don’t have to be an athlete or in contact sports to get dementia.”

The risk is that the topic of Howe’s dementia is usurped by the current concussion debate, similar to the way Rick Rypien’s battle with depression was repeatedly attributed to his role on the ice when, to use Marty’s words, you don’t have to be an athlete or in contact sports to get depression.

Here’s a link to the “Help Stick it to Alzheimer’s” golf tournament website.

Kevin Bieksa pays tribute to Rick Rypien with Mindcheck.ca

Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks

Rick Rypien’s suicide touched a lot of lives, including former teammates such as Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers goes behind Bieksa’s drive to help re-launch Mindcheck.ca, a site designed to reach out to people suffering from mental illnesses – including the issues Rypien couldn’t overcome.

“What he always talked about doing was giving back, doing something that could help other kids who were in the same situation as him, sharing his story and struggles,” Bieksa said. “This is just kind of lending that ear, showing there are other people out there. It’s kind of me carrying on Rick’s legacy.”

Bieksa estimates that about 40,000 people have visited the site since it re-launched and players are getting behind the cause. Myers points out that Henrik Sedin wore a T-shirt advertising Mindcheck.ca during the 2012 All-Star weekend, for one. Bieksa hopes to help people like Rypien, whose death was “obviously the biggest loss” he’s had to endure.

“A lot of people are saying how much they appreciate it, that it’s a good idea. Some people are admitting they’re currently struggling with depression or anxiety and the website is a great help,” Bieksa said. “That means a lot to get those responses.”

Watch: Vancouver Canucks Rick Rypien Tribute Video

Prior to the start of tonight’s game against the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks had a video presentation honoring the life and times of Rick Rypien.

Rypien passed away this summer at his home in Alberta at the age of 27.

In addition to the video, the Canucks honored Rypien’s legacy with a $50,000 donation for a website designed to help young people deal with depression and other mental-health issues.

The Canucks also wore a commemorative patch for the game — “Ryp 37” — that Jason wrote about earlier.

Canucks to honor Rick Rypien before game with Rangers


The Vancouver Canucks will remember Rick Rypien tonight at Rogers Arena. The ceremony will feature a video tribute to Rypien, who passed away this summer after a battle with depression. There will also be an on-ice presentation before the Canucks take on the Rangers. The game will be televised across Canada on TSN. For those who can’t watch on TV, the ceremony will be streamed live on the Canucks’ website.

It promises to be an emotional night for everyone, but perhaps nobody will feel it more than Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

The Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre wrote about the close bond that developed between Bieksa and Rypien as the latter struggled with mental illness.

While driving together to a workout before the Canucks’ 2008 training camp, Rypien confided in Bieksa about his mental issues, his anxiety and worry.

A few months later, when Rypien disappeared during his first leave of absence from the team, Bieksa and Moose general manager Craig Heisinger, who was like a second father-figure to Rick, met in Edmonton after a Canuck game and drove to Rypien’s home in southwestern Alberta.

“We went there looking for him,” Bieksa said. “Didn’t know what we’d find. We went to his house for four or five hours, just the two of us, hoping he’d come home and he finally did. That wasn’t the best day for him. But we got him back and we got him help.”

Naturally, people are still wondering why this happened. Was it because Rypien was a fighter? Was it because his girlfriend died in a car accident years ago? Bieksa wants everyone to know it was more complicated than that.

“There were a lot of things going on,” he said.


Image courtesy Canucks.com

The Canucks will honor Rypien’s memory with a $50,000 donation to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to develop a website that will help young people recognize symptoms and better understand mental illness.