BRANDON — It has been a while since the Lightning's Marty St. Louis was Wade Belak's teammate — they played together from 1998-2000 for the Flames and AHL St. John — but St. Louis said, "He was always in a good mood. I remember he was always laughing and cracking jokes."
That is why Belak's death this week — a suicide, according to media reports — and his mother telling the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that her son suffered from depression caught St. Louis "off guard. … I never saw that coming, especially from him."
Belak, 35, was the third enforcer who played in the NHL last season to die this summer.
St. Louis praised the joint statement from commissioner Gary Bettman and players association executive director Donald Fehr in which they pledged to look for links in the factors leading to the deaths and examine the league's assistance programs to see if more can be done for players in distress.
"The bottom line is two is a coincidence, three are a concern," St. Louis said Friday at the Ice Sports Forum. "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."
more belak: Belak's father, Lionel Aadland, told Canadian media that police told the family Belak committed suicide. His mother, Lorraine Belak, told the CBC her son "did not die of natural causes" but she knew nothing else. Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel-condominium complex Wednesday. Police have said only the death is not suspicious. Private funeral services are Sunday in Nashville, where Belak finished his 15-year career.
Information from Times wires was used in this report. Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]es.com.