Ex-Rangers, Islanders enforcer Chris Simon dead at 52


Longtime NHL pugilist Chris Simon, who spent fight-laden stints with the Rangers and Islanders, has died at the age of 52, according to the NHL Alumni Association on Tuesday.

No confirmed cause of death was available.

“The New York Islanders offer their condolences to the family and friends of former Islanders forward, Chris Simon,” the Islanders shared on X. “He epitomized what it means to be an Islander, someone who wore his heart on his sleeve both on the ice and in the community.”

Chris Simon, a 15-year NHL veteran who spent time with the Islanders and Rangers, died at the age of 52. Neil Miller

The 15-year veteran was a famed enforcer, collecting 101 fights and 1,824 penalty minutes over his 782 NHL games from 1992-2008 and won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996.

He received two of the longest suspensions in NHL history among his eight bans: a 25-game suspension while with the Islanders for hitting Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg in the face with a two-handed swing of his stick on March 25, 2007, which spanned two seasons, and a 30-game ban for stomping on Jarkko Ruutu’s leg in a Dec. 15, 2007 game against the Penguins.

Simon posted 144 goals and 161 assists playing for the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild in addition to the Rangers and Isles, and played his last NHL game with Minnesota on April 15, 2008 during a playoff series against Colorado.

He finished his playing career in the KHL, where he played in All-Star Games in 2010 and ’11, retiring after the 2012-13 season.

Simon racked up over 100 fights during his NHL career. AP

In 2017, the Ottawa Citizen reported that Simon, who made an estimated $15 million over his NHL career, had filed for bankruptcy and was “surviving on social assistances and disability checks.”

Injuries suffered throughout his career, including symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kept him from being able to work as he dealt with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and arthritis to his shoulder, hand, knees, back and neck, per the Ottawa Citizen.

Simon leaves behind four children, all from his marriage to his second wife, Valerie, whom he divorced in 2017.

Simons received one of the lengthiest suspensions in NHL history after taking a two-handed stick swing at the Rangers’ Ryan Hollweg. Getty Images

Former teammates and NHLers eulogized Simon on social media.

“Chris Simon was most definitely an intimidating guy on the ice,” Mike Commodore, a defenseman who played with Simon in Calgary, wrote on X. “Hell of a player as well…we spent a lot of time together during Flames 04 run since we were both living in the hotel…he couldn’t have been nicer to me. RIP Chris. You will be missed.”


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