To say that it's becoming a disturbing trend seems more and more like an understatement to me. When the news first appeared in my e-mail inbox, I was shocked and felt disturbed knowing that the body count is now mounting this off-season. Sure, tragedies will always happen, it's a fact of life. But the commonalities between the NHL players who have lost their lives are certainly not going unnoticed.
Boogard, Rypien, and now Belak have been the muscle supporting roles in their respective careers. But mostly in Belak's case, he always seemed a likable guy that was always accessible to the media. I've always remembered Belak as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He was a defenseman that can lower the boom, but his goal scoring production was far and few between. So, rather than face another term in the AHL's Milwaukee during the 2010-11 season, Belak chose retirement. The Panthers, Predators, Avalanche and Flames would also employ him in his career. He never quite got on a team that challenged for the Stanley Cup.
Belak, the person, would give a lot of his time towards the media off the ice. In times where we needed a lot of hockey players to be personalities, Belak provided a lot of content for others as well as created his own "The Wade Belak Show". Before this tragedy, he was also going to appear on the "Battle of the Blades" show for the CBC. Wade Belak was found in his Toronto apartment on August 31st. Early reports say that the cause of death isn't suspicious and pending an autopsy, the death may be ruled as self-inflicted.