Tampa Bay Lightning RW Marty St. Louis said Wade Belak "was always in a good mood"
Granted, it's been a long time since Tampa Bay Lightning star Marty St. Louis played with Wade Belak -- from 1998-2000 they were together with either the Flames or AHL St. John -- but St. Louis on Friday said he remembers a a teammate who "was always in a good mood.
"From what I remember, he was always laughing and cracking jokes," St. Louis continued and added about Belak's death, "I was feeling sad by it because I never saw it coming, especially from him." Belak committed suicide, according to Belak's father and media reports.
Belak was the third NHL enforcer who played in the league last season to die this summer, along with Rick Rypien (cause not announced) and Derek Boogaard (accidental mixture of alcohol and a painkiller).
Belak's mother, in an interview with Canada's CBC News, said her son, who left a wife and two children, struggled with depression.
That is why it was important, St. Louis said, for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr to release a joint statement in which they said they will look for links in the factors leading to the deaths and examine the league's assistance programs to see what more can be done to help players in distress.
"The bottom line is, two is a coincidence, three are a concern," St. Louis said. "We have to take care of one another. We have the resources to make sure everybody gets the help they need. Like I said, two is a coincidence, three is tough to take."