The Last Fight: An Open Letter To Rick Rypien

Dear Rick:

Last time I wrote you an open letter, it was because of your outburst on a fan in Minnesota. The last time I wrote about you in a blog, it was when you took some personal time to yourself to deal with personal matters. I meant every word I wrote in those to entries and I mean every word I write to you now. I cannot pretend to imagine what you went through in your day to day life.  I cannot pretend to know what your struggles really were on a personal level, so I won’t.

I write this to you, as someone who watched from the stands and on TV. I was… no strike that, I am a fan of Rick Rypien.

When I heard the news yesterday afternoon of your passing, I was immediately saddened. Although you became a Jet in the off-season, to me you’re always going to be a Canuck. In fact, you were my favourite tough guy to ever don the jersey. That puts you up there with the likes of Gino Odjick, Kurt Fraser and Brad May.  You never backed down from a challenge on the ice, no matter at what disadvantage you were facing.  Many of us fans admired that about you. Not many would have taken on the likes of guys like Hal Gill giving up the size and weight, but you did, without hesitation.

I just wanted to thank you for the memories. You were an exciting player to watch and I rooted for you from the get-go. You inspired many out there: Undrafted, moderately talented, but boy did you ever have heart. That alone gave you a reputation in the NHL. You thrilled fans in Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver and around the NHL. A pit-bull or a wolverine. The ultimate underdog fighter, but you sure showed them on the ice. Truly inspiring.

I hope you find the peace in the afterlife that you were looking for in this life. I hope you keep fighting the good fight where ever you are, because I don’t expect any less.

This year, I hope your friends and former teammates can “Win one for the Ripper”.

You were our champion, our Rocky Balboa, and now we say goodbye, and thank you. Goodbye Rick, we will all miss you. My condolences to your family and friends. God speed.

Justine Galo




Personally, it’s Personal


It’s a big story in Canuck land that Rick Rypien has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Canucks due to personal issues. Unfortunately for some out there, the lack of explanation as to why Rick Rypien has left is not enough. There are some out there that feel that the Canucks forward and the Canucks organization need to specify the reason for his leave. To the some out there, I personally feel,  Rypien or nor the Canucks need to explain anything to any of us.

There has been speculation of his mental wellness. There has been speculation of possible substance abuse or alcoholism. What is it really to us? Unless we’re willing to personally help Rypien through his personal reason, why are we so curious?

Ripper and Juice

I was going through some hockey boards and this issue came up and some of the posters on a few of these boards were completely disrespectful with the accusations and their judgments on Rypien. Some of the comments were down-right mean and classless. To some of the posters on the Rypien thread on Calgary Flames fan board and another Canucks fan board, you people ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I will leave it at that.

We are all human, we all make mistakes, we all do wrong things and we all have to learn from our experiences. I know personally, I have done the aforementioned, and try live my life to better myself from my mistakes. Rick Rypien is no different from you or I. He just happens to have a job that is under a microscope in this city, and in our nation.

 We all deserve privacy in matters that are happening our lives whether they are small or big. Generally, we don’t want everyone ‘getting up in our grill’ and making judgments of situations in our lives to which they are ignorant. Rick Rypien deserves that same respect. Not because he is a hockey player, not because he is a public figure but because he is a human being, like us.

Personally, this whole thing is a personal matter, and it should be treated as so. Let’s back off and stop pressing, assuming, speculating, accusing, and pointing fingers at Rick. Instead, let’s support him as good fans and more so as fellow humans. We’ll see you when you get back, Rick, but until then, keep fighting the good fight and good luck.

Justine Galo [tweetmeme]

Justine Galo: Dear Rick Rypien…A letter from a fan.

Dear Rick Rypien:

Rick Rypien grabs Minnestoa Wild fan. Photo Credit: Sportsnet.caI just wanted say that I am a fan.  I think that every NHL team could use a “Rick Rypien” on their roster, but I am glad you’re a Vancouver Canuck.  Despite the aforementioned statement, I am heartily disappointed in your actions during the game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, October 19, 2010.  Although I understand that things heat up on the ice during energized moments, your actions against a fan were not warranted. Even if they were, you are a professional, and you shouldn’t have taken your aggression out on that fan.

I hope you are suspended and fined, I hope that the NHL comes down on you just enough to show that laying your hands on a fan is an absolute no-no.  Rick, if you were pissed off, you could have easily just gone to the dressing room and messed up all your sticks. I don’t care, break them over your legs, break them over your head, but you should never shove an official and/or a fan.

I was truly shocked to see that come from you. It’s been known you’re usually pretty good with taking the penalties and owning up to your actions. Although you were in a visiting arena, I’d like you to know, that fan, the one that you shoved, pays part of the salary of the Minnesota Wild players, and indirectly yours as well.   You are a PROFESSIONAL player, and you should have conducted yourself as one.

I hope this incident doesn’t not get blown out of proportion. I believe members of the media will make you look like a monster. Some might even say you have absolutely no business being in the NHL, but it would be great for you to prove them wrong. I also know that Rick Rypien is a fine hockey player who knows his role, does his work in the community and for the most part is a ‘nice guy’.

Let’s hope you and anyone one else in the league who has any intentions of retaliating on fans learns a lesson from this.  Don’t bite the hands that feed you, even if they, at times, taunt you and mock you.  You’re paid to play hockey, not paid to act like a thug.

A Canucks fan,

Justine Galo

Footnote:  I have met Rick Rypien on a few occasions, and through my interactions with him and some of his team members, I cannot tell you how disappointed I am about this whole situation.  His attitudes towards myself and others in the  public of not conducive to his recent actions in Minnesota.