Former NHL Defensman, Steve Montador, Found Dead At 35

Steve Montador, former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman, was found unconscious early Sunday morning in his home in Mississauga, Ontario, by a friend. Emergency services were immediately called to the scene, but attempts to revive Montador were unsuccessful. He was 35.

In a statement issued by the Peel Region Police to several media outlets, spokeswoman Fiona Thivierage said as follows.

“We are not treating this as anything criminal, it’s a sudden death, so there is nothing to indicate anything untoward, just natural causes as far as we know.”

Steve Montador started his NHL career in 2001 when he made his debut with the Calgary Flames. During his first season, Montador played in 11 games, and scored one goal and was credited with 2 assists for a total of three points. He stayed with Calgary for two more seasons, and went to the Stanley Cup finals with the team, but ultimately lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Over the next several seasons, Montador played for the Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, and the Buffalo Sabres. In 2011, Montador was signed to a four-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. During his first season with the Blackhawks, Montador suffered a season ending concussion on March 27, 2012. His post-concussion symptoms would keep him out of the game through the 2012 NHL lockout and the start of the 2012-2013 season. When he was finally ready to return, the Blackhawks moved him down to their AHL affiliate to regain his fitness level. At the end of the 2013 season, Montador was made a free agent, and he went to play in Croatia for a short time before announcing his retirement after only 11 games.

The Chicago Blackhawks players expressed their sorrow over the loss of their former teammate after their 2-1 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. According to the New York Post, Chicago forward Patrick Sharp was quoted as saying the following.

“He was a leader in the locker room, and he did a lot for the union on our team, and then league-wide. He was friendly with everybody and a great teammate. It’s really disappointing to hear the news before the game. We’re going to support each other, support his family and all of his close friends, and get through it.”

The L.A. Times reports that Don Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players Association, released a statement about Montador’s death, saying as follows.

“We are all deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Steve Montador. Steve was a great person who quickly became a friend of everyone he came to know in the game; teammates, NHL club staff, the media and fans. Over the course of his career, he was an active member of the NHLPA and someone who I and our entire staff enjoyed working closely with. He dedicated a lot of his time to advancing the interests of his fellow players. On behalf of the players and staff, we send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s family and his many friends. He will be greatly missed.”

[Photo Courtesy of Jamie Sabau/Getty Images]