Thornton: Deaths not linked to enforcer roles

BOLTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins forward and enforcer Shawn Thornton does not think there’s any connection between the three NHL players who died this summer and the roles they played during their careers.

NHL tough guys Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak all died this summer. Boogaard died in May due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone, while the deaths of Rypien and Belak were both reportedly suicides.

Some have even suggested that fighting should be banned from the sport, but Thornton is not among them.

“No. No. And it kinda F---ing pisses me off that people take this opportunity to try to exploit a certain part of the game,” Thornton said. “Those are very sad instances and I don’t think exploiting a part of the game is the right way to go. I think we should remember the people as the men they were and not what they did for a living.”