The Nashville Predators have confirmed that former NHL “tough guy” Wade Belak was found dead in his Toronto, Canada condo earlier this afternoon. During his 14 year National Hockey League career Belak played for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, and most recently, the Nashville Predators. As of this time the cause of death is unknown, but foul play is not suspected.
Sadly Wade is the third member of the hockey community to pass away this summer. Derek Boogaard lost his life on May 13th while Rick Rypien passed away just 16 days ago. All three men were known for their physical play, leaving some to wonder if it’s time for the National Hockey League to consider their options when it comes to the fighting aspect of the game.
Mike Santos, the assistant general manager of the Florida Panthers had this to say about the passing of Wade Belak:
“He was as friendly and nice a person as I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He did so much for kids and our community. He was wonderful. I’m shocked. I’m sad. I don’t know what to say. It’s a real shame. He’s was the best.”
Wade Belak was 35 years old.