Derek Leendert Boogaard
( BOH-gard; later BOO-gard; June 23, 1982 – May 13, 2011) was a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who played for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL).
A native of Saskatchewan, where he grew up in several different communities as the son of a Mountie, he was known primarily as a fighter and enforcer throughout his career, from junior hockey to the pros.
His fighting prowess earned him the nicknames of "Boogeyman" and "The Mountie", and made him a favourite with fans.
In 2007, he was voted as the second most intimidating player in the NHL, behind Georges Laraque, who attributed his retirement in part to a desire to avoid the serious injury Boogaard could inflict, such as the cheekbone fracture Todd Fedoruk suffered that had to be repaired with metal plates.
Boogaard died at 28 from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose while recovering from a concussion.
A posthumous examination of his brain found he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy more advanced than that seen in some former enforcers who had died in middle age.
That disclosure came shortly after the deaths of two other hockey enforcers, both of whom were also under 40 and had similar health issues.
The three deaths triggered a debate in the hockey community about the issues faced by enforcers and their place in the game.
His parents unsuccessfully sued the NHL and its players' union over his death.