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Former Panther Wade Belak dead at 35

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From the Calgary Sun:

Former Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel Wednesday.

Belak retired in March after a long NHL career that included stops in Colorado, Calgary, Toronto, Florida and Nashville.

Belak's death - yet to be officially commented on by local authorities - follows the losses of Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard in recent months; all former "tough guys" with varying stages of success at the NHL level.

In 32 games over parts of two seasons with Florida, Belak had no points with 37 penalty minutes before being dealt to the Nashville Predators for Nick Tarnasky in November of 2008.

Wade's final website entry - characteristic of the drive and passion he displayed in his short time with the Panthers - can be found here. As well, please do stop in at On The Forecheck for a local roundup of this horrendous news. One can only imagine the emotions of Mike Santos, Marcel Goc, Mike Santorelli, and others in "the family" who spent considerable time with the Predators in recent seasons.

Our prayers to his family, friends, and fans.