A television station in New York is reporting that arrests have been made in connection with the death of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard. The hulking left wing died in of an accidental drug overdose in May 2011 while recovering from a concussion.
According to the station's report, Jordan Hart, the son of former Islanders defenseman Gerry Hart and a former minor league player himself, was arrested by officers from the New York drug enforcement task force this morning on Long Island.
Sources told the station that Hart could face 20 years in prison if convicted.
Also arrested was Oscar Johnson, a member of the medical staff of the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies. Johnson was not only charged with 26 counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute oxycodone, but also with making false statements to an investigator from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Johnson allegedly wrote prescriptions that allowed Hart to obtain nearly 3,000 Percocet tablets over a two-year period, from 2009 to ’11. Hart played parts of two seasons with the Grizzlies, from ’07 to ’09, but was no longer with the team when he began obtaining pills from Johnson.
According to the indictment, Hart began selling pills to Boogaard in November 2010, during the enforcer's first season with New York. Boogaard overdosed on oxycodone and alcohol on May 13, 2011, about two weeks after his final purchase from Hart. He was 28. Boogaard was known to have abused a wide variety of prescription drugs that included Percocet, Ambien and Vicodin.
Less than a month after Boogaard's death, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NHL, charging the league with responsibility for both the brain damage that Boogaard suffered in his role as a fighter and his addiction to prescription painkillers.
More to come.