Revisiting the Horrifying Disappearance and Death of Former Canucks Wing Rick Blight

Former Vancouver Canucks right wing Rick Blight might have had words for people like Steve Carell who think they could find success playing professional hockey.

The 10th overall pick in 1975, Blight impressed for the Canucks before injuries took their toll. Over 20 years after he played his final NHL game, Blight famously disappeared and was found dead.

Rick Blight impressed for the Canucks in the 1970s

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Rick Blight proved to be an impactful figure for the Vancouver Canucks in the 1970s.

Blight scored 96 goals in six seasons with the Canucks, including 11 which proved to be the game-winner. Blight added 125 assists, giving him 221 total points.

In five playoff games, Blight tallied five assists but never scored a goal.

Standing 6 feet 2 inches and 195 pounds in his playing days, Blight became an intimidating force on the ice. Blight’s 68 points during the 1976-77 campaign led his Canucks teammates.

Injuries took their toll on Blight’s career

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Hockey is a brutal sport, and Rick Blight was no stranger to coming home with bumps and bruises.

Blight was never the same after a knee injury limited him to five goals across 56 games during the 1978-79 season. Although he scored 12 goals and totaled 18 points in 33 games the next year, it became clear that Blight’s injury had changed him.

Blight had one goal in three games for the Canucks during the 1980-81 season. He returned to play two games for the Kings in the 1982-83 season.

That was it for Rick Blight, though. He became a stockbroker after he retired and returned to his native Canada.

Rick Blight disappeared and died in the spring of 2005

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Over two decades after he played his final NHL game, Rick Blight disappeared in April 2005.

According to The Province, Blight vanished on April 3, 2005, after taking his pickup truck and driving east from Portage la Prairie. At the time, Blight ran two farm equipment in dealerships. 

Canada launched a nationwide search two days later and spent two weeks trying to find Blight. Finally, in mid-April, police found the truck near St. Ambroise by Lake Manitoba. 

Along with the truck, police also found Blight, who had died by suicide. Blight was only 49 when he died.

Blight’s widow, Donna, reflected on her husband’s death in an interview with The Province earlier this year.

“Every time I think about it feels like yesterday. They die once, you die 1,000 times.”

According to The Province, Donna Blight later teamed up with the Vancouver Canucks’ alumni association and the B.C. Crisis Centre to fund a scholarship in Blight’s name. 

The Rick Blight Leadership in Action Scholarship for Athletes provides five scholarships worth $1,000 to Grade 12 student-athletes, “who are passionate about your sport and (make) efforts to support your personal mental health and wellness or that of your sports team or community.”

In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.