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Shawn Thornton speaks out against those ‘exploiting’ deaths of Rick Rypien, Wade Belak

09.12.11 at 11:37 am ET
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Shawn Thornton doesn't appreciate how some have viewed a sad summer for hockey. (AP)

BOLTON — Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Monday at the team’s annual golf tournament that he doesn’t care much for the connections some have made between hits to the head (including those sustained in fights) and the suicides of NHL players Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, as well as the death — an accidental overdose — of Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard.

“It kind of [expletive] pisses me off that people take this opportunity to try and exploit a certain part of the game,” Thornton said. “I think those are very, very sad instances, but I don’t think taking it as an opportunity to exploit part of the game is the way to go. Remember the people, the men they were, not what they did for a living.”

Both Rypien and Belak had been battling depression prior to their deaths. Belak was recently retired, but was found dead late last month after hanging himself. Since then, the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (something players suffering multiple blows to the head are subject to) has been brought up by those wondering whether there could be a connection between blows to the head and eventual depression.

Last season, Thornton led the Bruins with 122 penalty minutes.

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