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Aaron thanked fans for showing up, but he was too choked up to read. Kyrsten took over and remembered her brother as a comfort provider _ dependable, big, cuddly, loving and loyal.

Derek was dependable to a fault. You could depend on him for anything you needed. At any time, your priority became his priority,” she said.

Ryan then took over the reading as Kyrsten sobbed into her dad’s shoulder.

Derek was a teddy bear and will always be our teddy bear,” he said.

A funeral is planned for Saturday in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Fans left flowers at a table in the lobby, and a replica of his jersey was on display. Boogaard’s family took a few minutes to observe the makeshift shrine before departing. Then the song “Amazing Grace” broke out from the group while clips of Boogaard’s charitable work and playing career played on television screens overhead.

Walz was joined by former Wild teammates Niklas Backstrom, Andrew Brunette, Brent Burns, Stephane Veilleux and Nick Schultz at the event, with several front office officials and team employees there as well.

“To all his teammates on all his teams, we know that you thought … he was your comfort,” Kyrsten said. “In reality, every day, you guys gave Derek reason to come to work.”


AP National Writer Nancy Armour in Chicago, AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston and Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed to this report.