COLEMAN, Alberta - Winnipeg Jets center Rick Rypien was found dead in his home Monday, nine months after he took a leave of absence from the NHL to deal with an undisclosed personal matter.
An official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called Rypien's death sudden, but not suspicious. He was 27.
"Rick was a talented player with an extremely bright future," the Jets said in a release. "His hunger for the game made him a valued team member both on and off the ice. This loss has impacted us as more than just a hockey team."
Rypien, a native of Alberta, was the second active NHL player found dead this offseason. Former New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died in May due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.
Rypien signed a $700,000, one-year deal with Winnipeg last month after spending parts of six seasons with Vancouver. He had nine goals and seven assists in 119 career NHL games.
The Canucks announced on Nov. 25 that they had granted Rypien an indefinite leave of absence. It was the second time in three years the forward had left the team to deal with an undisclosed personal matter.
Rypien also received a six-game suspension from the NHL last season after grabbing a fan on his way to the locker room in Minnesota. (Scroll down to see a video of the incident)
And during the 2008-09 season, he took an extended personal leave after a rash of injuries, missing 70 games.
Rypien was the cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.