Why Kevin Bieksa will never stop talking about Rick Rypien
Kevin Francesco Bieksa is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who is currently an unrestricted free agent. He most recently played for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL). After a three-year career in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OPJHL) with the Burlington Cougars, Bieksa was awarded a scholarship to Bowling Green State University. He was a one-time All-CCHA honourable mention during his four-year tenure with the Falcons of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). He graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in finance and was a two-time CCHA All-Academic honourable mention in 2003 and 2004.
Bieksa represented his country in the 2014 World Hockey Championships in Minsk, Belarus. He was selected as team captain and named 1 of 3 top players for Canada in the tournament.
Stories that Bieksa will never stop sharing about Rick Rypien
Richard Joseph Rypien was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who spent parts of six seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Vancouver Canucks. Following the 2010–11 NHL season, Rypien signed with the Winnipeg Jets, but died before joining his new team. His death was preceded by a history of clinical depression, which included two personal leaves of absence from the Canucks during his career.
Likewise, Bieska has been talking about Rypien since he died by suicide in 2011 at only 27 years old. Bieksa will not stop talking about him, in fact, he refuses to do it. “Six years have passed”, he says. “Rick’s story is one I do not want to leave”.
Bieksa still tells stories that make him smile. About how Rypien was there during so many important moments in his life, however, he also shares stories that still make him cry. Like when one night he received a call. It was Heisinger. Rypien was dead. He had taken his own life.
After what happened, over the years Bieksa has continued talking about his friend and his illness. Being that he has worked with the Rypien family in initiatives to promote knowledge and decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness.
It should be noted that in the difficult world of professional hockey, he is demonstrating to make sure that others know that there is no shame in getting help. Programs like the NHL Hockey Talks are helping with that.
Source: Dan Robson | Sportsnet