Ex-NHL enforcer Belak found dead

TORONTO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Recently retired NHL "enforcer" Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel, his last team, the Nashville Predators, said Wednesday.

The Toronto Sun reported a source said Belak, 35, died in a suicide from hanging after first reporting he had perished from an accidental prescription drug overdose.


Belak's body was discovered at an upscale hotel-condominium complex in the city's financial district.

The Predators issued a statement expressing the organization's sorrow.

"The entire organization and family is shocked and saddened by the sudden and untimely passing of Wade Belak," the statement said. "Wade was a beloved member of the organization, a terrific teammate and wonderful father and husband who will be greatly missed.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Jennifer and children Andie and Alex. We offer our full support to them at this very difficult time."

Belak retired from hockey in March after playing 549 games with Colorado, Calgary, Toronto, Florida and Nashville.

A 1994 first-round draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques, Belak racked up 1,263 penalty minutes with eight goals and 33 points over his long career.

Belak's death is the third of an NHL tough guy this off-season.


Former Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers strong man Derek Boogaard succumbed to an overdose of painkillers and alcohol May 13 in Minneapolis, and Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien died in an apparent suicide Aug. 15 in Alberta, Canada.

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