Ice Hockey Wiki
Rick Rypien
Born May 16, 1984(1984-05-16),
Crowsnest Pass, AB, CAN
Died August 15 2011 (aged 27),
Crowsnest Pass, AB, CAN
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Right
Pro clubs Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Manitoba Moose (AHL)
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2005–2011

Rick Joseph Rypien (May 16, 1984 – August 15, 2011) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He spent four seasons with the Regina Pats, a major junior team in the Western Hockey League before being signed by the Manitoba Moose in 2005. He joined the Vancouver Canucks at the start of the 2005–06 National Hockey League season, and remained with the club until the end of the 2010–11 NHL season. Rypien had signed with the Winnipeg Jets prior to the start of the 2011–12 NHL season.

Playing career

Rypien joined the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL) after playing one season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves. Unselected in the annual WHL Bantam Draft, Rypien earned a spot with the Pats.[1] While with Regina, he served as the team captain.[2] After posting 45 points in 2002–03, he received three team awards, being named team MVP, the fans' choice as most popular player (Bill Hicke Award) and the Molson Cup champion, receiving the most three star selections.[3][4]

Undrafted out of junior, he signed with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL) to an amateur tryout late in the 2004–05 season.[4] He completed the season with the Moose and early the next season, he was signed to an NHL contract by Manitoba's parent club, the Vancouver Canucks on November 9, 2005.[5] He made his NHL debut for the Vancouver Canucks against the Edmonton Oilers on December 21, 2005, and scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in the first period.[6] However, playing in his fifth game with the club, he suffered a broken fibula against the Minnesota Wild.[2] He played five games total for the Canucks during his professional rookie season to go with 15 points in 49 games with the Moose.

Competing for a roster spot in training camp for the 2006–07 season, Rypien injured his thumb in a fight in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, sidelining him for two months.[2] After recovering, he was sidelined once again with a partially torn groin muscle in his second game back with the Canucks.[7] He completed the majority of the season with the Moose, recording 6 points in 14 games.

Rypien during the Canucks' 2009 training camp

Early in the 2007–08 season, Rypien injured a finger in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on October 24, 2007.[8] Once recovered, he split the season with the Moose, with 14 points in 34 games, and the Canucks, tallying 3 points in 22 games. After playing in five games in 2008–09, he continued to be plagued with injuries, suffering a sports hernia in October. Upon recovering, however, the Canucks declared he was taking an indefinite leave of absence due to a personal matter, alluding to Rypien's history of constant injuries as the main reason for him not returning to the team. Assistant general manager Lorne Henning stated that "It's just wearing on him now - it's frustrating for him. He just has to deal with the injuries ... and wrap his head around it."[9] He returned after a 70-game absence on March 31, 2009, in a game against the Minnesota Wild.

In the 2009 off-season, Rypien signed a two-year extension with the Canucks on May 27, 2009.[10] During a game against the St. Louis Blues on December 31, 2009, he was automatically ejected after a fight with opponent Cam Janssen revealed his hands were illegally taped below the wrist, because of a sprained finger.[11]

On October 19, 2010, in a game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center, Rypien pushed a linesman, and while heading down the tunnel, he reached into the stands and grabbed a fan by the chest who had been clapping[12] and had yelled out "way to be professional".[13] After grabbing the fan Rypien started to pull him into the tunnel before being restrained by his coach and teammates.[12] Rypien was suspended indefinitely pending an in-person disciplinary hearing about the altercation.[14] As a result of the in-person meeting, the NHL suspended Rypien for six games and fined the Canucks $25,000.[15] Following the suspension hearing, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the fan to apologize and offered him dinner and tickets to another game,[16] after which the fan stated that, although he had not yet hired a lawyer,[16] he would be "definitely seeking legal representation."[13] Rypien meanwhile told media he had apologized to his team and the league, describing his actions as "inexcusable."[17]

After having served his suspension, Rypien struggled to remain in the Canucks' lineup and was made a regular healthy scratch. In late-November 2010, the Canucks allowed him another personal leave of absence. It was widely speculated in the media Rypien was suffering from mental health issues. While the Canucks organization withheld any details regarding Rypien's situation, general manager Mike Gillis stated publicly that "when you come to know somebody and realize they're a really good person...You don't only support them when they're at the top of their support them when they're not feeling good about things or have other issues they have to deal with."[18] By March 2011, Rypien was ready to play again and was assigned to the Moose. The NHL waived the two-week limit allowed for a conditioning stint, allowing the Canucks to leave him with the Moose for the remainder of the season and avoid his salary cap hit.[19]

On July 2, 2011, Rypien signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets,[20] but died before the team began training camp.

Personal life

Rypien was born in Blairmore, Alberta, a community within the municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Alberta on May 16, 1984.[21] He was raised in the Crowsnest Pass community of Coleman, Alberta where he began his minor ice hockey career in the Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey Association.[21] Rypien was the son of Wes Rypien who was a Canadian boxing champion; Rypien's older brother, Wes, also played in the WHL, as well as several seasons in the ECHL.[1] Rypien was also a cousin of former National Football League quarterback Mark Rypien, who was named the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXVI.[22][23]

A family member found Rypien dead in his Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, home August 15, 2011,[24] with the cause of death confirmed as suicide.[25] Rypien had suffered depression for more than ten years.[26]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2001–02 Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves AJHL 57 12 10 22 143
2001–02 Regina Pats WHL 1 0 0 0 0
2002–03 Regina Pats WHL 50 6 12 18 159 5 1 1 2 21
2003–04 Regina Pats WHL 65 19 26 45 186 4 0 1 1 18
2004–05 Regina Pats WHL 63 22 29 51 148
2004–05 Manitoba Moose AHL 8 1 1 2 5 14 0 0 0 35
2005–06 Manitoba Moose AHL 49 9 6 15 122 13 1 1 2 22
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 5 1 0 1 4
2006–07 Manitoba Moose AHL 14 3 3 6 35
2006–07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 2 0 0 0 5
2007–08 Manitoba Moose AHL 34 3 11 14 81 6 0 0 0 10
2007–08 Vancouver Canucks NHL 22 1 2 3 41
2008–09 Vancouver Canucks NHL 12 3 0 3 19 10 0 2 2 40
2009–10 Vancouver Canucks NHL 69 4 4 8 126 7 0 1 1 7
2010–11 Vancouver Canucks NHL 9 0 1 1 31
2010–11 Manitoba Moose AHL 11 0 2 2 9 7 1 0 1 10
NHL totals 119 9 7 16 226 17 0 3 3 47
AHL totals 116 16 23 39 252 40 2 1 3 77


  1. 1.0 1.1 Vancouver Sun. "Flying fists run in Rick Rypien's family", Vancouver Sun, 2008-10-15. Retrieved on 2009-11-06. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Rypien rarin' to go". CANOE (2007-02-11). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  3. "Regina Pats Weekly". OurSports Central. Retrieved on 2008-10-31.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Moose sign top Pats player". Canadian Online Explorer (2005-03-23). Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  5. "Canucks recall Rypien; re-assign Raymond". ESPN (2008-01-12). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  6. "Smyth's go-ahead goal lifts Edmonton over Vancouver". ESPN (2005-12-21). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  7. "Pyatt, Salo, Rypien out for Canucks". ESPN (2006-12-05). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  8. "Red Wings ride Holmstrom past Luongo, Canucks". ESPN (2007-12-24). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  9. "What's really wrong with Rypien". The Province (2009-01-14). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  10. "Canucks reward Rypien with two-year extension". TSN (2009-05-27). Retrieved on 2009-05-27.
  11. "Canucks storm back to win in OT". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2010-01-01). Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. Retrieved on 2010-01-01.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Rick Rypien attacks fan in Minnesota". NBC Sports (2010-10-19). Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Russo, Michael (2010-10-24). "James Engquist: "I was assaulted, that’s just the bottom line"". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-20.
  14. "Canucks' Rypien Suspended indefinably Pending Hearing". TSN (2010-10-20). Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-24.
  15. "Canucks' Rypien Suspended six Games for Fan Altercation". TSN (2010-10-22). Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-24.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Walters, Charley (2010-10-23). "Minnesota Wild fan grabbed at game gets a call from Gary Bettman". The Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-24.
  17. "Canucks' Rick Rypien: 'It's inexcusable what I did'", The Vancouver Sun, 2010-10-25. Retrieved on 2011-05-02. 
  18. "Canucks stand up for, stand by troubled Rick Rypien", The Vancouver Sun, 2010-11-25. Retrieved on 2011-05-02. 
  19. "Canucks likely to leave Rypien in AHL", The Vancouver Sun, 2011-03-08. Retrieved on 2011-05-02. 
  20. Jets Sign Rypien, Jones to One-Year Contracts. TSN (2011-07-03). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Obituaries, Friday, August 19, 2011", Lethbridge Herald, 2011-08-19. Retrieved on 2011-08-21. 
  22. Former Canuck Rypien Found Deat at 27. TSN (2011-08-16). Retrieved on 2011-08-16.
  23. Thiel, Art. "Super Bowl Isn't Such A Big Deal, Says MVP Rypien", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Hearst Corporation, 1992-01-27. Retrieved on 2011-02-13. 
  24. Addison, Bob (2011-08-15). Former Canuck Rick Rypien found dead. News1130. Retrieved on 2011-08-16.
  25. Maki, Allan. "Hundreds attend funeral for NHLer Rick Rypien", August 20, 2011. Retrieved on August 21, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. 
  26. Players, Fans React to the Sudden Death of Rypien. Retrieved on 2011-08-16.

External links

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Rick Rypien. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).