Former NHLer Chris Simon Dead At 52
Former NHLer Chris Simon Dead At 52 (Credit: Twitter Screenshot - The Hockey Samurai)

Enforcer’s Death Announced The Same Day As Passing Of NHLer Konstantin Koltsov

March 19 was a sad day for hockey fans around the world. First, as Bounding Into Sports reported yesterday, former Pittsburgh Penguins player Konstantin Koltsov took his own life in Florida. Later in the afternoon, another tragic shoe dropped as the NHL Players Association released a statement that long-time NHL and KHL veteran Chris Simon also had passed away at the age of 52.

Simon actually died on March 18, but the announcement was not made until March 19.

Neither Simon’s family nor the NHLPA released a cause of death for Simon. However, it was fairly well known that Simon, a traditional tough guy and enforcer who also had a great scoring touch, suffered from symptoms related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), including depression.

Chris Simon Played For The Calgary Flames From 2003-2006
Chris Simon Played For The Calgary Flames From 2004-2006 (Credit: YouTube Screenshot – Calgary Flames)

Simon Was A Hero To First Nation Hockey Fans

On the ice, players and fans knew Simon as one of the toughest — and nastiest — players in the NHL. He racked up a total of 65 games in suspensions over his career, including more than 2,300 penalty minutes in the NHL and KHL.

Off the ice, however, Simon was a hero to many in Canada for his heritage. Born in Wawa, Ontario (where he also died), Simon was of Ojibwe heritage, an indigenous tribe from southern Canada and the upper midwest of the United States. As a teenager, he struggled with addiction, but when he got sober, he dedicated himself to counseling First Nation teens in Canada who also suffered from alcohol addiction.

But Simon was far from simply a “thug.” He was also a solid scorer, with 144 goals and 305 points in his NHL career. In 1999-2000, he led the Washington Capitals with 29 goals and 49 total points. He was a member of the Colorado Avalanche 1995-96 Stanley Cup championship team and also went to the Stanley Cup finals with the Washington Capitals in the 1997-98 NHL season and with the Calgary Flames in the 2003-04 season.

Colorado's Chris Simon Firghts Chicago Blackhawks' Bob Probert in 1996
Colorado’s Chris Simon Fights Chicago Blackhawks’ Bob Probert in 1996 (Credit: YouTube Screenshot –

Condolences Pour In From Players And Fans

Simon’s former teams, teammates, and hockey fans everywhere offered their condolences to Simon’s family, including wife Valerie, their four children, and ex-wife Lauri and their son.

The rest of that post from NHL Alumni reads:

He would have a lengthy NHL career, playing for eight different teams, appearing in 782 regular-season games, and scoring 305 points.

Simon became a Stanley Cup Champion with the @Avalanche in the 1995-96 season. Chris was never afraid to stand up for his teammates, and played a key role in the dressing room. He was a beloved friend, father, brother, and son.

We send our deepest condolences to Chris’ family, friends, and former teammates during this very difficult time.

The family has asked to respect their privacy during this difficult time.

NHL Alumni on X.

Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations and Simon’s teammate in the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup season, issued the following statement:

“Chris was a great guy, a beloved teammate and an important part of our first championship season. He was a really good hockey player who could score goals, was a big presence in the dressing room and was the first person to stand up and defend his teammates. Off the ice, he was an unbelievable guy and a caring father, son, brother and friend. He will be sorely missed.”

Statement from Joe Sakic

The Calgary Flames also posted a tribute video to Simon and his time with the team.

Rest in peace, Chris Simon, January 30, 1972 – March 18, 2024.

On March 20, Chris Simon’s family released a statement confirming that his death was a suicide related to degenerative effects from CTE. TMZ reported the statement yesterday.

Ex-NHL player Chris Simon’s family is revealing the tragic details surrounding his sudden passing … confirming the 52-year-old took his own life, and they believe it was the result of CTE. The former enforcer’s loved ones released a statement via his former agent Paul Theofanous on Wednesday … saying they saw Simon show strong signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a brain disease caused from concussions and traumatic head injuries.

“The family strongly believes and witnessed firsthand, that Chris struggled immensely from CTE which unfortunately resulted in his death,” the statement read. “We are grieving with the loss of our son, brother, father, partner, teammate and friend. The entire Wawa community is sharing in our grief. We will not be releasing any further details at this time and ask for privacy during this very difficult time. We appreciate everyone who shares in our tragic loss.”

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