Rick Rypien, the 27-year-old Winnipeg Jets forward who was found dead Monday at his Alberta home, had battled depression but seemed to be settled and at peace.
“We texted on Saturday morning, and he was supposed to be on his way to Winnipeg the next day,” his agent, Allain Roy, said. “Everything seemed positive. He was excited to get the season going, excited to get to Winnipeg and get settled in. If there were some issues, he was doing a good job of hiding them.”
The death of Rypien, a cousin of former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, is considered “sudden but not suspicious” by the police.
“This is devastating,” Ryan Johnson, a former teammate of Rypien’s in Vancouver, said. “A lot of people are reflecting on the player he was, particularly his toughness. But to me this boils down to, off the ice, he was really a gentle, kind and caring human being. Without knowing any of the back story, it breaks your heart to think that there was hurt or suffering going on with him.”
Rypien, according to Jets assistant general manager Craig Heisinger, had battled depression for at least a decade.
“There were no drug or alcohol issues,” Heisinger said. “Depression is the right word.”
Rypien had recently signed a one-year $700,000 deal with Winnipeg after six seasons in Vancouver. “I never got the sense that there was any problem all summer,” Heisinger said. “I spoke to the other people in his support group, and none of us had that sense. And that’s a small, tight-knit group. So either something happened very quickly, or we all missed the boat.”
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