Rick Rypien funeral set for Saturday

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The sadness surrounding the sudden death of former Canucks tough guy Rick Rypien will continue for some time while authorities figure out just what caused him to pass away. Family and friends will say their final farewells to Rypien on Saturday at his funeral in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

A large crowd is expected for the service as the outpouring of emotion and memories over Rypien’s life and career has been incredible. Teammates past and present as well as his cousin, former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, have opened up in their thoughts about the former Canucks scrapper.

After what’s happened with Rypien, regardless of how he died, and with former Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard after he died from an alcohol and pain killer overdose, it’s helped make the NHL and NHLPA look closer at how they’re handling their wellness program. The program deals with players who are struggling with substance abuse and mental wellness. It’s a good program for the league to have but after what’s happened with Boogaard and possibly with Rypien many want the program to be reevaluated.

Both Boogaard and Rypien were part of that program but other players have taken part in it and thrived after treatment. Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo is a prime example of that. Here’s to hoping we don’t have any more sad situations like this occur in the future and that players who need that sort of help can get it and improve their lives.