Len Boogaard releases findings from his investigation into son's death

6h ago

Two men were arrested in connection with former NHL player Derek Boogaard's death in September and more details continue to come out thanks to Derek's father Len.

On Thursday afternoon, Len Boogaard joined Prime Time Sports to speak about his investigation into Derek's death and the disturbing details he uncovered.

Len told Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt he knew something wasn't right when Derek couldn't remember conversations from just days before. 

"He wanted to go to B.C. and to build a log cabin, and build cabins around it. And he would call me the next day and tell me the same thing ... I didn't have any idea as to what was going on," Len said.

In 2009 after nasal and shoulder surgery, Derek became addicted to opiates and painkillers. Len asked Derek about alcohol consumption but his son told him over and over, "Don't worry about it dad, it's the lifestyle."

When Derek was admitted to a rehabilitation program by the NHL for substance abuse, he was there for two weeks before joining the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 12. 

"On Oct. 9 he signed an after-care agreement," Len said, which included a 12-step program and counselling. "On the 15th there was a concern raised."

Although Derek violated the terms of the after-care agreement which meant he could be suspended by the NHL and sent back to rehab, nothing was done about the failed tests.

"There were a bunch of positive drug tests, but they were sleep aids. From his dosages, impairment sets on at 60 mg. His reads were 400-plus mg," Len explained.

Various NHL doctors gave Derek pills according to Len. All Derek had to do was ask and he would be given a prescription. Len described a time when Derek was on the road and had asked a San Jose Sharks doctor for a prescription, and was given 40 pills. Within a month, Derek had 159 pills.

Len said Derek refused to go to rehab multiple times when he was in violation of his after-care agreement and was not penalized by the league. The NHL's substance abuse program knew he was in violation and chose not enforce the rules of the program.

A doctor for the Wild was in charge of Derek even after he signed with the New York Rangers. While in New York on a visit, Len said he found a bottle of ambien (14 pills) in Derek's bathroom. "I knew Derek wasn't allowed to have ambien ... Over the next two days the container was empty," Len said.

Continuing on without any repercussions for violating the substance abuse program's rules, Derek was granted exemption and doctors prescribed him ambien - the drug he was addicted to and not allowed to have - during the last weeks of his life. He found alternate sources through a teammate to get opiates as well.

Len ended his interview with Prime Time Sports explaining the system failed his son. When McCown asked who he blamed, Len said, "Fault in the system. Derek slipped through the cracks."

Feature photo courtesy of Anthony Gruppuso / US PRESSWIRE