At approximately 1:33 p.m. on August 31, 2011, former NHLer Wade Belak was found dead in a condo at the One King Street West hotel in Toronto. Police have not confirmed a cause of death, but Toronto Police treated it as a suicide. He was 35 years old, and had been preparing to take part in the upcoming season of Battle of the Blades. His death was the third in a string of NHL players found dead in a four-month span, following Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien. His mother stated that he had been suffering from depression. Michael Landsberg reported that he had been in talks with Belak a week before his death about their mutual depression, and that Belak admitted having been on “happy pills” for the past four to five years. Landsberg stated that Belak was agreeable to appearing in a documentary on celebrity depression that Landsberg was working on, and going public about his condition.
On September 2, 2011, P. J. Stock suggested that Belak’s death might not be suicide. “Let’s just call it an accidental death right now. But he did die of strangulation” said Stock. Belak’s family members also believe his death was accidental.
Belak’s funeral was held in Nashville, with friends, family and former teammates in attendance. Belak (July 3, 1976 – August 31, 2011) was a NHL forward and defenceman. He was drafted 12th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and the Nashville Predators in the NHL. Belak was known as a physical player that could play anything asked of him. He retired at the end of the 2010-2011 season, collecting 8 goals and 25 assists in 549 career games, totaling 1263 penalty minutes. Belak took part in some local broadcasting duties for the Nashville Predators and was expected to help out with it more this season.
Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.