February 16, 2015 / 12:32 AM / 4 years ago

Retired defenseman Steve Montador dead at 35

(Reuters) - Former teams, team mates and union officials paid tribute to retired NHL defenseman Steve Montador on Sunday after he was found dead at home at the age of 35.

Montador, who played for six NHL teams over 10 seasons, was pronounced dead after police arrived at his home in Mississauga, Ontario in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Mississauga News reported.

“We are all deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Steve Montador,” Don Fehr, executive director for the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), said in a statement. 

“Steve was a great person who quickly became a friend of everyone he came to know in the game.”

The Mississauga News report said a friend had discovered Montador dead and called police. Foul play was not suspected pending the results of an autopsy, the report quoted local police as saying.

Montador played for the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks during his career. He had 33 goals and 98 assists in 571 career games.

His former team mates took to Twitter to express their sadness.

“Monty laughed a lot and made the rink a fun place. So sad. Just spent some time with him this summer,” tweeted Vancouver’s Ryan Miller, who played with Montador in Buffalo.

Montador’s former teams also paid tribute.

“Steve will always be remembered to us as a member of the Flames family,” Calgary said in a statement.

“We are very proud that he wore the Calgary uniform... and also of his important contributions during that period both on and off the ice ...

“This is a terrible loss of a wonderful young man, a great team mate known for his big heart and character.”

The Sabres said: “Steve was a passionate hockey player, a valued member of the Sabres family and a highly respected individual off the ice.”

The Blackhawks offered their condolences: “We join the many others throughout the NHL in keeping Steve’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the team said.

Montador admitted in 2013 that he had struggled with depression.

The Vancouver native was also plagued by concussions throughout his hockey career.

While with the Chicago Blackhawks, he suffered a season-ending concussion on March 27, 2012.

His post-concussion symptoms continued through the 2012 NHL lockout and the start of the shortened 2012–13 season.

Reporting by Andrew Both, Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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