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Wade Belak dead at 35

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Old
09-03-2011, 07:08 AM
  #151
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This whole thing is just so sad. Stating the obvious I guess.

I haven't read the whole thread but I grew up in the seventies when fighting in hockey was the norm. Fighters fought fighters all of the time. It was okay and somewhat entertaining. But it dawned on me at some point that I could do without it and hockey all together. That was the path I chose. So I lost interest and didn't follow it for a period of time especially through the nineties.

My favorite part of watching hockey has always been appreciating the skill level and durability some of these guys have. I do think it's the toughest sport for an athlete to have to endure for a full season - both mentally and physically. It's a fast, physical sport. Travel is extensive. It goes without saying it's a physical sport unlike basketball and baseball. Breaks are rare during a game except for intermission.

Among my favorite players to watch during the aforementioned era were Bernie Parent, Rick MacLeish, Guy Lafleur, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Gilbert Perrault, Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Tony and Phil Esposito, Mike Bossy. The list goes on really. Borje Salming one of the first Europeans to hit the ice injected some new flair into the sport.

I enjoyed those players and came back to the sport because of the rule changes. It appears there is a ways to go and it would not bother me a bit to see fighting completely tossed out of the sport. I'd be all for it in fact. Watching Spacek and Pyatt take a beating last year made my stomach churn. There's just no need for it IMO.

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09-03-2011, 07:13 AM
  #152
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
I don't think the two are comparable. Fighters in the UFC/boxing are fighters whose sole purpose in their sport is indeed to fight. That's the reason why they train. Fighters in hockey are hockey players who could only make the NHL because of fighting. They weren't fighters at 15-16 years old. Many of them were good players at that point even.

When enforcers in the NHL score a goal or two here or there, they often get (rightfully) criticised for trying to become finesse players over the next half dozen to dozen games. Laraque was frequently criticised on this front: any time he'd score a goal, he'd get hungrier for another, and start driving the net, playing a finesse game, completely neglecting his enforcing duties. This wasn't limited to Laraque: many enforcers in the game did this. Even 'mean' tough guys like Brashear were criticised for this once in awhile. I suspect the reason for this is that these enforcers wanted to be more in the NHL, and any time they enjoyed any offensive success, this desire took hold.
Sure, i understand this view, but getting punched in the head is no less detrimental if it's your only purpose in your sport. It still should have the same long term effects as fighting in another venue/situation (hockey).

If the argument is that fighting in hockey is no longer beneficial to the sport or whatever, I can buy this somewhat, but jumping the gun and attributing these tragic deaths to hockey fighting is a stretch imo.

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09-03-2011, 07:45 AM
  #153
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Originally Posted by habsjunkie2 View Post
Sure, i understand this view, but getting punched in the head is no less detrimental if it's your only purpose in your sport. It still should have the same long term effects as fighting in another venue/situation (hockey).
Long-term effects, sure. But these deaths this summer have nothing to do with long-term effects since these were active players (in Belak's case, just retired). The way other enforcers like John Scott and Georges Laraque have described their anxiety and difficulty sleeping--even operating--on days and nights before games indicate a very short-term problem which can lead to various psychological issues. These issues wouldn't come up in sports like MMA and boxing where the athletes' sole purpose is to fight, and such anxiety plays a lesser role since they've trained for that specific purpose for the entirety of their athletic lives. There's a different psychological impact here. The extent of this impact and its relation to these deaths is unknown, but the way Scott and Laraque described their anxiety is beyond my comprehension and does not seem to affect MMA fighters and boxers in the same way.

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09-03-2011, 08:10 AM
  #154
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Long-term effects, sure. But these deaths this summer have nothing to do with long-term effects since these were active players (in Belak's case, just retired). The way other enforcers like John Scott and Georges Laraque have described their anxiety and difficulty sleeping--even operating--on days and nights before games indicate a very short-term problem which can lead to various psychological issues. These issues wouldn't come up in sports like MMA and boxing where the athletes' sole purpose is to fight, and such anxiety plays a lesser role since they've trained for that specific purpose for the entirety of their athletic lives. There's a different psychological impact here. The extent of this impact and its relation to these deaths is unknown, but the way Scott and Laraque described their anxiety is beyond my comprehension and does not seem to affect MMA fighters and boxers in the same way.
These players would likely feel the same anxiety/difficulty sleeping if they never fought at all. Maybe even more so if they gotta wonder if they've got a job or not. Their anxiety/sleep disorder may just be the effects of the stress of playing in the nhl, period, and not at all related to fighting. I'm not claiming to know one way or the other, but to me, a few fights here and there isn't likely to create some added crazy stress that a mma fighter wouldn't experience leading up to his fight, or the after effects being comparable to getting knocked unconscious.

I do feel it needs to be explored. Investigate how many players in general have depressing thoughts and compare it to those who are fighters ect. I suppose the psychological aspect of fighting for your security/life support could be more than I imagine, but I don't think these sudden deaths proves that definitively.

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09-03-2011, 08:15 AM
  #155
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Originally Posted by habsjunkie2 View Post
These players would likely feel the same anxiety/difficulty sleeping if they never fought at all. Maybe even more so if they gotta wonder if they've got a job or not. Their anxiety/sleep disorder may just be the effects of the stress of playing in the nhl, period, and not at all related to fighting. I'm not claiming to know one way or the other, but to me, a few fights here and there isn't likely to create some added crazy stress that a mma fighter wouldn't experience leading up to his fight, or the after effects being comparable to getting knocked unconscious.
I disagree. I don't think it's basic anxiety/stress related to playing in the NHL in general, or being borderline talents, etc. These enforcers have been very specific in pinpointing the fact that they're anticipating a fight. As I mentioned, this is beyond my comprehension in why it's so nerve-racking for them: logic dictates that, after 10-15 years as enforcers in hockey, they ought to be accustomed to it. Fighting a dozen times a year, in often staged fights, where the fight lasts 30 seconds and where you've got a lot of equipment and a helmet doesn't seem to be the most frightening thing either. But there's a consistent narrative given by some of the more accomplished heavyweights that it is, in fact, a very difficult, anxiety-ridden job. I believe this to be beyond the comprehension of most anyone not in their shoes.

I don't think the comparison to MMA fighters works at all since, as mentioned, this is all they train for and this is their very purpose in their athletic lives.

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09-03-2011, 08:25 AM
  #156
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I disagree. I don't think it's basic anxiety/stress related to playing in the NHL in general, or being borderline talents, etc. These enforcers have been very specific in pinpointing the fact that they're anticipating a fight. As I mentioned, this is beyond my comprehension in why it's so nerve-racking for them: logic dictates that, after 10-15 years as enforcers in hockey, they ought to be accustomed to it. Fighting a dozen times a year, in often staged fights, where the fight lasts 30 seconds and where you've got a lot of equipment and a helmet doesn't seem to be the most frightening thing either. But there's a consistent narrative given by some of the more accomplished heavyweights that it is, in fact, a very difficult, anxiety-ridden job. I believe this to be beyond the comprehension of most anyone not in their shoes.

I don't think the comparison to MMA fighters works at all since, as mentioned, this is all they train for and this is their very purpose in their athletic lives.
You very well good be right, but I would like an investigation into this before claiming it as fact.

I also agree about the mma fighters being more prepared for what's coming, since it's all they do, my comparison there was to touch on the actual impact of getting hit in the head, not necessarily the larger psychological impact involved in the 2 sports.

It's a touchy subject that we don't really know all the aspects feelings/emotions that these guys are experiencing, so what should the NHL do? Eliminate fighting without an investigation or work towards a treatment/awareness program, I don't know anymore. You have some valid concerns, no doubt, but over the history of the league, how many guys have committed suicide and how many of them can be attributed to fighting alone? Would Probert have been a cocaine/drug user if he was never an enforcer in the NHL, I think so, but don't know for sure. The lifestyle and society we live in is just as much to blame as the fighting imo.

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09-03-2011, 08:36 AM
  #157
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Originally Posted by habsjunkie2 View Post
You very well good be right, but I would like an investigation into this before claiming it as fact.

I also agree about the mma fighters being more prepared for what's coming, since it's all they do, my comparison there was to touch on the actual impact of getting hit in the head, not necessarily the larger psychological impact involved in the 2 sports.

It's a touchy subject that we don't really know all the aspects feelings/emotions that these guys are experiencing, so what should the NHL do? Eliminate fighting without an investigation or work towards a treatment/awareness program, I don't know anymore. You have some valid concerns, no doubt, but over the history of the league, how many guys have committed suicide and how many of them can be attributed to fighting alone? Would Probert have been a cocaine/drug user if he was never an enforcer in the NHL, I think so, but don't know for sure. The lifestyle and society we live in is just as much to blame as the fighting imo.
I concur. And I don't like the calls to ban fighting as a result of this. We know that Rypien, for example, was a troubled individual. And that Boogaard's death was accidental, if memory serves.

Further, it could just as easily be that the enforcer position happens to attract individuals who may have other issues to begin with.

Nevertheless, all of this ought to be researched and understood.

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09-03-2011, 08:40 AM
  #158
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I concur. And I don't like the calls to ban fighting as a result of this. We know that Rypien, for example, was a troubled individual. And that Boogaard's death was accidental, if memory serves.

Further, it could just as easily be that the enforcer position happens to attract individuals who may have other issues to begin with.

Nevertheless, all of this ought to be researched and understood.
I strongly agree with this. I think this is very likely to be true.

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09-03-2011, 09:05 AM
  #159
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Nothing against you AC, or anybody else who has found this tidbit interesting, but it's really important to check out the source of information like this.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=340104

At first glance, Seidel seems trustworthy as the guy's a long-time scout and is employed in the hockey world, but he has also been exposed as a guy who's capable of being willfully deceitful in his reporting.

When news of Belak's death first hit, a lot of people were claiming there was no way that he could have been suicidal let alone depressed based on what little they've seen of him. Belak's mother revealed that he has dealt with and been medicated for depression for years, proving that initial gut-reaction wrong.

People are still struggling with the idea of a father of two committing suicide even if he is depressed and are reaching for some explanation that gets around that horrible idea. Mark Seidel conveniently and vaguely tweets something that supports that sentiment and it begins to spread like wildfire on the web.

I'm not sure how Belak died and I won't claim I have any more information than the rest of you. However, at this point in time, the horribly sad narrative of a man losing a long battle with depression seems to be the one that makes the most sense in light of what people closest to Belak have said.

Seidel's speculation that there some kind of sordid accident took place while offering no proof or details strikes me as either an act of severe denial, or a despicable and morbid attempt at gaining attention on the off-chance that he's right. Either way, at this point in time it's uncalled for and not worthy of much credence or discussion.
I'm with you. Honestly, I still think that a CTE related suicide seems most likely. Guess it's the awful part of human nature that leads everyone to speculation at times like this.

And then I see this...

PJ Stock feeds the autoerotic asphyxiation angle.

From Stock:
"So many things spread so quickly. I feel terrible for Wade's family and his family and friends and the team about how quickly everything spread. And now it just opens up so many possibilities on why he passed away. It follows up of course the Rick Rypien(notes) story and [whether they are] related. It's just a snowball that's gotten way out of control and I don't know how to reel it back in.
"There's going to be a little bit more to the story. I was just with him a couple of weeks ago and I know a lot of people who know Wade really well, and a lot of people are throwing this on depression and he was not a real depressed guy. He might have had a couple of issues but not demons like Rick Rypien did. Not demons that would have taken his life.
"I believe they've taken the word 'suicide' away from this and called it an 'accidental death'. That's kind of the latest."
Stock later said: "Let's just call it an accidental death right now. But he did die of strangulation," and that "it's not fair" to place the deaths of Derek Boogaard(notes), Rick Rypien and Wade Belak in the same context.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puc...rn=nhl-wp11744


Last edited by Habsfan18: 09-03-2011 at 09:48 AM. Reason: merged
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09-03-2011, 10:57 AM
  #160
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Originally Posted by Ayatollah Chowmeini View Post
I'm with you. Honestly, I still think that a CTE related suicide seems most likely. Guess it's the awful part of human nature that leads everyone to speculation at times like this.

And then I see this...

PJ Stock feeds the autoerotic asphyxiation angle.

From Stock:
"So many things spread so quickly. I feel terrible for Wade's family and his family and friends and the team about how quickly everything spread. And now it just opens up so many possibilities on why he passed away. It follows up of course the Rick Rypien(notes) story and [whether they are] related. It's just a snowball that's gotten way out of control and I don't know how to reel it back in.
"There's going to be a little bit more to the story. I was just with him a couple of weeks ago and I know a lot of people who know Wade really well, and a lot of people are throwing this on depression and he was not a real depressed guy. He might have had a couple of issues but not demons like Rick Rypien did. Not demons that would have taken his life.
"I believe they've taken the word 'suicide' away from this and called it an 'accidental death'. That's kind of the latest."
Stock later said: "Let's just call it an accidental death right now. But he did die of strangulation," and that "it's not fair" to place the deaths of Derek Boogaard(notes), Rick Rypien and Wade Belak in the same context.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puc...rn=nhl-wp11744
Stock's not exactly the elite of the hockey media either. He doesn't offer any facts relevant to the situation, other than that he saw Belak a while ago and he didn't seem "real depressed" at the time. His words read as those of a man who's struggling to cope with the shock that he's feeling about Belak's death, but don't necessarily strike me as journalistic at their nature (ie. backed up with hard facts and supported by real sources).

Interesting note: Team 990 has pulled the Stock story sometime between now and around midnight last night. I listened to the clip yesterday following PD's link, but it's no longer there (it was right above the Terry Ryan clip). Make of that what you will.

It seems to me that most of these guys that are hinting at some other means of death for Belak are doing so because their gut tells them he couldn't have done something like this.

A guy like Stock probably felt like he was doing Belak's memory a service when he speculated like this. Unfortunately, the rumour mongering that's popping up in the wake of these kinds of comments has been ugly and I'm sure that they can't be good for Belak's family or any of his close friends who are struggling with his death.

In my opinion, it is extremely irresponsible for Seidel and Stock (and Puck Daddy for spreading their words) to vaguely throw this kind of speculation around without any real support for their claims.

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09-03-2011, 11:10 AM
  #161
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Originally Posted by LyleOdelein View Post

In my opinion, it is extremely irresponsible for Seidel and Stock (and Puck Daddy for spreading their words) to vaguely throw this kind of speculation around without any real support for their claims.
Stock is one of those 'idiot' friends everyone has, who always says and does the wrong thing when given a chance.

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09-03-2011, 12:30 PM
  #162
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To be honest, I don't care how he died. A tragedy's a tragedy, and that's what this is.

I'm not trying to feed the rumor mill and I don't put a ton of stock into either of these journalists.

But I'm starting to worry that no matter what, there's going to be too many ways to rationalize this away when it should truly serve as a wake-up call to the dangers of CTE. If it turns out to be a Carradine situation, is everyone going to just say, 'Good thing we don't have to actually do anything anymore.'?

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09-03-2011, 01:18 PM
  #163
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Originally Posted by Ayatollah Chowmeini View Post
To be honest, I don't care how he died. A tragedy's a tragedy, and that's what this is.

I'm not trying to feed the rumor mill and I don't put a ton of stock into either of these journalists.

But I'm starting to worry that no matter what, there's going to be too many ways to rationalize this away when it should truly serve as a wake-up call to the dangers of CTE. If it turns out to be a Carradine situation, is everyone going to just say, 'Good thing we don't have to actually do anything anymore.'?
I agree with a lot of what you've said.

It was encouraging to see the reflective stance that some of the better hockey writers have taken after the news of Belak's death (guys like Friedman, MacKenzie and Dater off of the top of my head). It's still a little too early to know exactly what needs to be done, but there's no doubt in my mind that recent events should trigger significant research and some soul searching on the part of everybody who's close to hockey.

I think it's unfortunate that for whatever reason, the baseless speculation (since nothing of any value has been shown to support it yet) about the actual cause of Belak's death seems to have shifted some of the focus away from where I feel it should be.

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09-03-2011, 03:54 PM
  #164
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I didn't want to say something until it came out but I heard through a friend who knows some people that this is what it was. It was kind of leaked before PJ even said anything about it. Tough way to go out. (Sorry for feeding it but I heard what I heard)

RIP Belak.

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09-03-2011, 05:39 PM
  #165
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http://www.rds.ca/hockey/chroniques/325627.html

Suicide.

Fighting should be abolished. There's no more doubt in my mind now.
Knee jerk reactions should be abolished.

Blaming fighting for suicides among hockey players is ridiculous.

Suicides happen every day involving non-athletes who have never been exposed to any head trauma.

Instead of calling for a ban on fighting in hockey, do a little research on the neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse........yes I work in health care) in the brain.

Any imbalance of serotonin or norepinephrine levels in the brain can lead to depression..........regardless of injury to the brain.

Depression is a precursor to most suicides. Depression is a disease........NOT AN INJURY. And as such, depression can be treated.

So, please stop with the knee jerk remarks that are totally off base. My nephew committed suicide three months ago. He did not play sports nor did he fight. He was a kind and gentle young man who suffered from depression and ultimately came to the wrong conclusion that suicide was the answer.

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09-03-2011, 07:52 PM
  #166
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Depression is an awe full illness. It doesn't attack the body, but is just as fatal in the modern faster world.

What you gotta do is always remember for some strange reason. When ever life throws a left at you, take some time think & keep going, eventually the balance comes around & life will throw that right back at you.

Sometimes it's hard and people can't talk to family, but you can always talk to friends, That's why you picked them, or they picked you.

RIP Wade......

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09-04-2011, 10:20 AM
  #167
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Long-term effects, sure. But these deaths this summer have nothing to do with long-term effects since these were active players (in Belak's case, just retired).
I think you're incorrect in the science. While the most prominent suicides from CTE have been of retired athletes who had a whole career to become known to the general population, there have been a number of college football players who have committed suicide and been found to have CTE but no one cares because no one knows anything about sophomore college linemen.

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