Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Rick’s tragedy won’t go in vain'

  • Print

BLAIRMORE, Alta. -- Roughly 1,000 people filled an arena for the funeral of Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien Saturday afternoon.

Among the attendees were Jets owner Mark Chipman, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, asst. GM Craig Heisinger, Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis, and a number of Rypien's former Canucks teammates. Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa was a pallbearer.

Rypien was found dead in his home earlier this week. His death is not considered suspicious.

"Rick’s tragedy won’t go in vain," said asst. GM Craig Heisinger, speaking to the Free Press outside the arena. "I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but we’ll do something. We’re going to learn more about this disease. We’re going to talk about it and find ways to fight it."

Rypien, who struggled with depression, had signed with the Winnipeg Jets this off-season after six years with the Vancouver Canucks.

"I don’t think we can be afraid to talk about the issues that Rick went through. I know he wanted that. It’s up to us now to continue the legacy of a great young man and help those that go through the same issues as Rick," said Canucks GM Mike Gillis.

"Rick suffered from depression and it was an ongoing illness. When he was in an environment that he could control, he was fine and he was great. When he got into an environment he couldn’t control, he had great difficulty.

"We tried a lot of things and were there for him every step of the way, and challenged him every step of the way. But there are thing that occur that you can’t overcome. I guess at the end of the day, Rick couldn’t overcome the illness he had. For everything he had accomplished in life, it’s remarkable that that’s how powerful his illness was."

The 27-year-old's death came as a surprise to many who knew him and thought he had turned a corner. They said he was looking forward to playing for the newly relocated Jets.

"My overwhelming question is why? How could this happen,"? said his uncle, Allan Rypien Jr.

"He had a great family, great friends and a great job."

Rypien said his nephew was battling a disease not unlike cancer.

"He fought this disease with everything he had in him," he said. "If you knew Rick he fought with everything he had in him. Unfortunately the disease won the battle."

"Be thankful the battle he faced is over."

A number of minor hockey players, wearing Crowsnest Pass Thunder hockey jerseys were among those in attendance.

An autographed #37 jersey from Rypien's time with the Vancouver Canucks and a poster from his days with the WHL's Regina Pats were part of only a few momentos scattered amongst the bunches of flowers.

Rypien grew up in the scenic Crowsnest Pass, played much of his early hockey there and considered the area his home.

- with files from The Canadian Press

History

Updated on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 2:46 PM CDT: added comments from family

3:12 PM: Added comment from Heisinger

4:07 PM: Added comment from Gillis

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should confessions extracted through Mr. Big police stings be admissible in court?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google