- - Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ex-player Belak committed suicide in Toronto hotel

TORONTO | Former NHL player Wade Belak hanged himself, according to a person familiar with the case. Belak, an enforcer who had played with five NHL teams before retiring in March, was found dead Wednesday in Toronto. He was 35.

The person familiar with Belak’s death said he hanged himself at a downtown luxury hotel and condo building.

Belak is the third NHL enforcer found dead since May.

The body Rick Rypien, 27, a cousin of former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, of the Winnipeg Jets was discovered earlier this month at his home in Alberta after a police official said a call was answered for a “sudden and non-suspicious” death.

Former New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died in May at 28 of an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.

c Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was arrested in Minnesota on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Byfuglien, a Minnesota native, had 20 goals and 33 assists in 81 games with the Atlanta Thrashers last year. The franchise was relocated to Winnipeg in the offseason.

AUTO RACING

Earnhardt agrees to 5-year extension with Hendrick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | NASCAR’s most popular driver will stay with the most dominant race team at least through 2017.

Hendrick Motorsports on Thursday announced a five-year contract extension with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend trying to clinch his first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in three years.

Earnhardt left Dale Earnhardt Inc., his late father’s race team, at the end of the 2007 season. He has just on win since leaving DEI, at Michigan in 2008, and he goes into Sunday night’s race at Atlanta stuck in a 117-race winless streak.

HORSE RACING

Desormeaux charged with reckless endangerment

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. | Police in New York say jockey Kent Desormeaux, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, tried to run over a traffic cop. Police did not release the officer’s condition.

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