NY man avoids prison over painkillers supplied to Rangers' Boogaard

Thu Oct 6, 2016 7:57pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former minor league hockey player avoided prison on Thursday for supplying painkillers to late New York Rangers' enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died from an overdose of alcohol and oxycodone in 2011.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan sought up to six months in prison for Jordan Hart, a former player for the Utah Grizzlies whom they said supplied painkillers to Boogaard before his death while obtaining pills to feed his own addiction.

But U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said that contrary to how the case was portrayed when it was announced in 2014, no evidence existed that Hart actually supplied the pill that led to Boogaard's death.

She called Hart and Boogaard "victims of organized sports, which did not consider the consequences of supplying large quantities of addictive pain medications to their players."

While Buchwald said Hart "crossed over the line of victimhood" by selling Boogaard drugs, she noted his efforts to overcome his own addiction in sentencing him to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service.

"His life is now on track, and this court sees no reason to derail it," she said.

Hart pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor charge of possessing a controlled substance. He told Buchwald that he was "a changed man and a better man."

Nicknamed "The Boogeyman," Boogaard spent five seasons with the Minnesota Wild starting in 2005 before signing a four-year deal with the Rangers in July 2010. During his final game he suffered a shoulder injury and a concussion during a fight.   Continued...

Former minor league hockey player Jordan Hart, (L), his lawyer, Nelson Boxer and his father retired NHL player Gerry Hart (R) leave Manhattan federal court in New York, U.S., October 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Nate Raymond