Monday, May 16, 2011

Minnesota Wild Fans Show Amazing Grace In Boogaard Farewell

When someone passes there is a typical desire to accentuate the positives of who they were in their life, but what the Minnesota Wild fans did last night for Derek Boogaard was about showing his family what he was in theirs.  The depth of the imprint that Boogaard left on the fans of the Wild and the community in his five seasons there is special given how the community has sought to give back to the family in their time of grief. 
I have always believed that hockey fans are amongst the most compassionate in the world and the family environment that hockey brings to the players and fans has been on full display since Boogaard’s passing this weekend.  It would be impossible for that same bond to exist between Boogaard and the New York fans given his short stay and the even shorter chance to get to know him, both on and off the ice, but today I am in awe of the beauty of what the Minnesota fans did last night. 
Last night, organized via facebook by Wild fans Katie Haag, 19, of St. Francis and Shelby Leske, 18, over 300 Wild fans gathered at the Xcel Energy Center for a memorial service that included Derek’s family.  Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune has an amazing recap of the events that included family, friends, teammates and organizational members of the Wild speaking about Derek.  The gesture started by the fans was a way for the fans and even the family to get a little comfort in this time of grief as they share their thoughts, memories and even grief as a unit and not alone. 
The story of how the crowd began to sing “Amazing Grace” together is one of those things that you cannot plan and speaks to the emotions that were running through those gathered.  The whole event was a tribute not only to Derek Boogaard and the love of the hockey community, but to the people and fans of the Minnesota Wild who showed their love of their team, a player who was no longer there, and amazing grace.
Also be sure to check out Michael Russo’s account of how facebook made the entire night possible and what it meant to the Boogaard’s.
Boogaard’s funeral service will be held on Saturday in Regina, Saskatchewan.