Recently retired hockey player Wade Belak was found dead in his Toronto in condo on Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that he hanged himself, citing an anonymous source.
Belak, who retired in March 2011, was just 35 years old. He is survived by his wife Jennifer and their two daughters.
Upon his retirement, Wade planned to appear on CBC show Battle of the Blades and remain with the Predators, the last team he played for, in an organizational capacity.
Belak's role during his NHL career was that of an enforcer, or someone who protected his team from dirty play from opponents by physically punishing offenders.
He was the third hockey enforcer to die young in the past few months, with Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers dying from accidentally mixing alcohol and oxycodone and Rick Rypien of the Winnipeg Jets dying from suicide.
Still, Belak's death, especially from reportedly a suicide, shocked the hockey community given his active post-NHL schedule and gregarious reputation. Indeed, the popular hockey player even hosted a TV show and a radio show.
Jim Thomson, a retired NFL tough guy, told CBC Sports that Belak's busy post-NHL schedule can be deceiving.
The stress, the pressure that puts you into depression, even though you're retired, it doesn't go away, said Thomson.
I thought of suicide many, many times, but it was only when I was messed up... That's how the demons play with you, he said.
During his playing days, during the summer period before training camp, Thomson was fraught with anxiety over the on-ice battles ahead, wrote CBC.
It's not just getting hit in the head, it's everything that goes with that (enforcer) role...I don't think anybody can stop until we really understand the impact it has not only physically, but emotionally as well, Craig Button, who served as the general manager of the Calgary Flames when Belak played there, told CTV.