Wade Belak was the reason I watch the NHL. Not Wade specifically, but players like Wade. He embodied the rough stuff that first drew me to the game: The fights and fighters and the warrior code that went with them. … Continue reading ?
Nashville Predators shocked at hearing news of popular tough guy who retired last spring.
Former NHL defenseman Wade Belak was found dead at his downtown Toronto condo Wednesday, the Toronto Star reported.
Sources said Belak, 35, died of an apparent suicide, according to the Star. An official cause of death for the Canadian hockey player has not yet been determined.
Belak becomes the third NHL enforcer to die in the last four months.
Winnipeg Jets enforcer Rick Rypien, 27, was found dead earlier this month in his Canadian home, also from an apparent suicide. The former Vancouver Canucks forward was reportedly battling depression.
Derek Boogard was found dead May 13 in Minneapolis. The 28-year-old former New York Ranger's death was ruled an accidental overdose of alcohol and the pain killer oxycodone.
Belak was selected by Quebec Nordiques with the 12th overall pick in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He spent 14 seasons in the NHL, playing for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Wade Belak was reported dead today at the age of 35.
The former first round pick played in 549 career games while scoring eight goals and added 25 assists, while racking up 1263 penalty minutes.
He will not be remembered for his offensive game, but more so for his toughness on the ice, and his gentle personality off. Known as a fun loving guy, Belak was set to start hosting The Wade Belak show in Nashville, and participate in the upcoming season of Battle of the Blades.
Belak becomes the third death of this NHL offseason, with Derek Boogard and Rick Rypien passing earlier this summer. The cause of death is unknown, and reports of a suicide have for now been dismissed. He leaves behind 2 daughters and a wife of 9 years.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Belak family. RIP.
Not again. Wade Belak, a 15-year NHL veteran who announced his retirement in March, was found dead in his Toronto condo early Wednesday afternoon, according to QMI Agency and later confirmed to the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald by the Nashville … Continue reading ?
from QMI Agency at the Toronto Sun, Former Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel Wednesday.
The 35-year-old from Saskatoon was found in the tony 1 King West hotel and condo residence.
Belak retired in March after a long NHL career that included stops in Colorado, Calgary, Toronto, Florida and Nashville. He was recently announced as one of the ex-NHLers who would be performing on CBC’s Battle of the Blades this year.
I had heard rumors of this early today, but in a situation like this, you surely do not want to report anything that is not correct.
There are no words to describe the loss.From Slam Sports, "Former Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel Wednesday. The 35-year-old from Saskatoon was found in the tony 1 King West hotel and condo residence."Belak was scheduled to be one of the participants in this season's "Battle of the Blades" and was starting a new radio show in Nashville on 102.5 The Game.More details will be known later.Our prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans.More Later...Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass
Slam Sports of Canada is reporting that former Nashville Predator and Preds Radio color commentator Wade Belak has been found dead in a hotel room in Toronto.
Belak, a former first round pick for the Quebec Nordiques, spent time with various NHL organizations including the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and the Predators. He was also a volunteer Williamson Country firefighter.
If the report is true, Belak is the third NHL enforcer to pass away over the past few months. Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers was found dead May 13 and Rick Rypien, who had just signed a new deal with the Winnipeg Jets, was found dead August 15.
Details are sparse at this moment. We will update you on this unbelievably sad news once it develops.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Nicholson // special to section303.com (used with permission)
According to a story in Wednesday’s Toronto Star, Maple Leafs centre Matthew Lombardi has been declared symptom-free from the concussion he suffered early on in the 2010-11 season, although it remains unclear at this point if he will be ready in time when training camp breaks on September 16th.
“(Lombardi) is cleared for full activity on the bike,” explained Leafs GM Brian Burke via phone interview with the Toronto newspaper. “The last report I got he was doing 20-plus minutes without symptoms. He has been declared symptom-free and now it’s about getting the workload back up.”
Lombardi, acquired July 3rd along with D Cody Franson from the Nashville Predators in an off-season deal, has yet to resume skating since getting injured vs. the Blackhawks in the 2nd game of last season. While the Leafs are hopeful that the speedy centre will be ready in time for camp, Burke remains cautiously optimistic about the 29-year old Lombardi’s return to ...
Hockey’s most non-eventful month is nearing its end. In a time of year where the retirement of Dave Scatchard makes headlines, August is also when hockey pundits and restless fans make their predictions for the upcoming NHL season. After an offseason of draft choices and free agency signings, the projected rosters of the NHL’s thirty clubs are analyzed for signs of success and failure. Which team improved the most? Who spent the most money? Whose rosters are best suited for the Stanley Cup next spring?
Where do the Maple Leafs stand in all of this chatter? Well, The Hockey News slots the Leafs in at 10th in the East, missing out on the playoffs for the 8th straight year to the likes of the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers. This is certainly a fair prediction, if only because the Leafs’ roster on paper doesn’t appear poised to usurp either of these clubs as a playoff team.
Luckily, the NHL season does not play out “on paper”. Leaf fans have plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming campaign. However, this has become an offseason of “wait-and-see” for Leaf fans. For the time being, we have lost the ability as a fan base to effectively argue the legitimacy of our club’s strengths. After a couple years of optimism heading into the pre-season, nobody will listen anymore. The canned responses are already prepared – “That’s what you guys say every year”, “The Leafs have no number one centre”, “Is James Reimer a legitimate starting goaltender?”
Until the Leafs play their way out of the depths of their post-lockout failures, the arguments will persist. This is why Leaf fans should just sit back and wait for the play on the ice to dictate the level of respect given to their favorite club. In the end, the Leafs haven’t yet shown why they are deserving of anything more, aside from a few promising post All Star break stretches.
Leaf fans know the reasons why their club is vastly superior to the line-up that took the ice last October. And compared to the team Brian Burke inherited that saw the likes of John Mitchell lining up beside our prized (and at the time, only) goal-scoring threat Phil Kessel… well… there is no comparison.
This year’s club puts forward the realization that before Mr. Burke took the helm, Leaf fans have been treated with the opportunity to watch glorified AHL teams scratch and claw their way to 9th place finishes. Remember John Pohl? How about Andy Wozniewski? There are reasons why many of the players who suited up for the blue & white during these failed seasons haven’t come remotely close to the league since.
The JFJ era wasn’t all bad, however. Aside from a pair of truly horrifying trades for “starting goalies”, the regime made a few positive contributions. Fergie and the Maple Leaf scouts drafted well and contributed multiple successful draft picks to the current organization. Carl Gunnarsson, Nik Kulemin, James Reimer, and Matt Frattin are just a few in a long list of excellent draft choices.
Regardless, these have been some dark years in Leaf land since the departure of captain and franchise player Mats Sundin. To use a tired cliché, we are now seeing the light at the end of that tunnel. The Leafs are one of the youngest teams in the league and have the opportunity to develop together and build something special that will bring the magic back to Leafs nation. It’s been too long. Jeremy Roenick’s overtime winner stands in time as the last memory of the blue & white partaking in meaningful springtime hockey.
To this point, the Leafs have deserved the criticism and ridicule. However, no one who follows the Leafs with a fair an objective view can deny the changes in atmosphere throughout the entire organization. Burke has built an all star management team and has eliminated any sense of entitlement amongst the players. Burke’s philosophy is simple, if you don’t want to win as badly as he does, you don’t deserve to wear the Maple Leaf.
How will it feel when the Leafs play their way back to respectability? I for one will take delight in seeing the band wagon fill up again, with smiling faces cheering along for a team they once took such joy in belittling.
Regardless of whether or not the Leafs make the playoffs this year, the organization now has a purpose. They have emerged with a sense of identity, and a penchant for winning. After all, Burke has stated countless times that this club is not being built to merely sneak into the playoffs. This club is being built to win the Stanley Cup.