NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The family of Derek Boogaard, the Rangers forward who died last week in Minnesota, is asking for donations to be made to Defending the Blue Line in his memory, in lieu of flowers.

The Rangers said Tuesday that the family “would like to see Derek’s legacy live on by supporting military kids and the game he loved.”

Defending the Blue Line is a nonprofit organization created by soldiers with the spirit of keeping hockey alive for the children of our nation’s military heroes, according to the mission statement on the group’s website.

“I am deeply saddened at the loss of our dear friend,” Shane Hudella, Defending The Blue Line president and founder wrote in a statement. “Derek was one of the genuinely nicest human beings I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was extremely generous with our organization, and the military families that we support. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boogaard family, and we offer our deepest condolences.

“Rest in peace brother, and thanks for serving our countries in your own special way.”

Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the Rangers.

“He seemed very good, and that’s what makes it more painful,” agent Ron Salcer said. “He was really starting to feel better about everything. He was in great shape.”

A cause of death has not yet been determined.

Your thoughts on Boogaard’s passing? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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