Boogaard autopsy results will take weeks

FILE: Derek Boogaard #94 of the New York FILE: Derek Boogaard #94 of the New York Rangers in action against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason hockey game at the Prudential Center. (Sept. 25, 2010) Photo Credit: Gett Images

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Minneapolis police said they do not suspect foul play in the unexpected death of Rangers forward Derek Boogaard on Friday night, but authorities do not expect to determine an official cause of death for weeks.

An autopsy was performed Saturday on the 28-year-old. The (Minneapolis) StarTribune, citing sources, said he had been found unconscious by his brothers Ryan and Aaron inside his Minneapolis apartment.

A spokeswoman for the Hennepin County, Minnesota, medical examiner's office said Saturday it will take at least two weeks to get results of laboratory tests.

Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer said emergency medical services responded to a 911 call at Boogaard's downtown apartment just past 6 p.m. Friday. First responders from the Minneapolis fire department determined he was already dead, Palmer said. He declined to say if any evidence was recovered at the scene.

Boogaard, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, had just told a StarTribune reporter via a text message Thursday that he was returning from Los Angeles and was planning to meet with one of his two brothers Friday.

"I don't think we have any answers as to what happened," said Ron Salcer, Boogaard's agent, "or why it happened."

According to Hennepin County spokeswoman Carol Allis, when there are no obvious signs of physical trauma or obvious immediate cause of death, a battery of tests is required.

"If there's nothing that's real obvious when the person is found -- and it's our understanding that there haven't been in this case -- it takes longer," she said. "They don't usually release anything preliminarily because they don't know everything until they get the tests back."

The StarTribune reported the family has donated Boogaard's brain to Boston University for research.

The hockey world was struggling to come to grips with the abrupt death of a hard-nosed player who was known for his fighter's mentality on the ice and his fun-loving attitude off it.

"I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it," Rangers teammate Ruslan Fedotenko said Saturday in Manhattan. "It's one of those things that just seems surreal."

After signing a four-year, $6.5-million contract last July, Boogaard's first season in New York after five seasons with the Minnesota Wild was limited to just 22 games because of a concussion he suffered during a fight Dec. 9.

Boogaard struggled with common post-concussion symptoms such as headaches and sensitivity to sunlight, telling the StarTribune in March that he had spent a stretch of weeks inside his Manhattan apartment.

At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, his role on the ice was always as a rugged enforcer. He was involved in seven fights last season and 70 during his NHL career.

He returned to skating in March, three months after the concussion, but there was not enough time left in the season for him to get back into game shape. After the season he returned to Minneapolis.

"The news that we have lost someone so young and so strong leaves everyone in the National Hockey League stunned and saddened," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

With Katie Strang in Minneapolis, and AP

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