Former Merrimack College defenseman Jordan Hart was arrested in New York on Tuesday in connection with the overdose death of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard, according to multiple reports.
According to KMSP in Minneapolis-St.Paul, “Hart was supplying Boogaard with the prescription painkillers that killed him. He could 20 years in prison, if convicted.”
Along with Hart, Oscar Johnson, a physician’s assistant in Utah, was arrested and is accused of writing Percocet prescriptions for Hart, “on a near-monthly basis for 2 years, totaling 2,920 pills.”
Hart signed with the Utah Grizzlies in 2007. According to reports, Johnson was a physician with the team.
He left Merrimack in Jan. 2007, signing with the Kalamazoo Wings (UHL at the time, now a part of the ECHL) in the middle of the 2006-07 season. Hart appeared in 55 games during his 2-1/2 seasons at Merrimack.
According to the indictment, Hart began selling pills to Boogaard in November 2010.
Boogaard began asking Rangers teammates if they had Percocet connection. According to the indictment, a teammate agreed to look for a source and asked Hart if he would supply Percocet to Boogaard.
Boogaard allegedly drove from Manhattan to Huntington, Long Island to purchase the painkillers from Hart, paying with cash or personal check. According to the indictment, the drugs often came from prescriptions written by Oscar Johnson in Utah. The pills were then mailed to Hart in New York.
In March 2011, Boogaard attempted to return to practice with the Rangers. But at an early April 4, 2011 practice, Boogaard could “barely stand up while skating” and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. On April 5, 2011, he was admitted to a substance abuse rehabilitation center in California.
Later that month, Boogaard was given permission to leave rehab so he could fly to New York to pick up his belongings and then drive from New York to Minneapolis for the summer. According to the indictment, during his one night in New York, Boogaard drove to Long Island to make one more purchase from Hart. Boogaard wrote a $4,000 check to Hart, dated April 29, 2011, which was deposited a few days later. Boogaard overdosed on oxycodone and alcohol about two weeks after that final purchase from Hart.
According to the New York Times, Boogaard’s father, Len, discovered the $4,000 cashed check in the days following his son’s death, which led to the investigation into Hart.
Boogaard was found dead on May 13, 2011.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN