Darrian Chapman, 37, a former sports reporter at WRC-TV in Washington and, more recently, the lead sports anchor for WMAQ-TV in Chicago, died of an apparent heart attack Oct. 30 as he prepared to play a pickup hockey game with friends at a Chicago ice rink.
Alma Loera, executive director of Johnny's Ice House, said paramedics arrived quickly after Mr. Chapman collapsed at the rink. He was taken to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, a hospital spokesman said.
"One of the players said [Mr. Chapman] did not feel well in the locker room," Loera said. "He collapsed outside before going on the ice."
Mr. Chapman, who had suffered a heart attack in 1997, worked at WRC from October 1995 to May 2000, living in Northern Virginia. Former colleagues described him as a consummate professional who not only covered sports but loved to compete as well. Mr. Chapman, an avid hockey fan, often skated with the Washington Capitals staff on game days. WRC film critic Arch Campbell said Mr. Chapman played golf so often that he "had probably played every course in the area."
"He loved to play golf -- any time, anywhere," Campbell said. "Darrian expected to shoot par every time he went out."
Mr. Chapman graduated from high school in Columbia and from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, majoring in journalism and communications. He came to WRC with no experience in television. He had been the sports director at WGAR radio in Buffalo before WRC hired him as weekend sports anchor.
"He had the gift of gab and that smile," said WRC sports anchor George Michael. "He was just a gregarious person who was easy to like. That was the key to his success and happiness."
Doug Hicks, senior director of communications for the D.C. United soccer team, met Mr. Chapman while working for the Washington Capitals and Wizards.
"He was always in a jovial mood, and that just rubbed off on everybody around him," Hicks said. "He was very talented. His personality is what made him so good at what he did."
Mr. Chapman's colleagues in Chicago echoed those sentiments.
"I can't adequately express the sadness and loss we feel at NBC-5," said Larry Wert, the station's president and general manager. "Darrian was a special talent and a special person. He made us so very proud to have him on our team."
Mr. Chapman is survived by his wife, Deborah, and two children, Marissa and Jordan, all of Chicago.