NHL defender dies in truck crash

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hours after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Steve Chiasson was killed when his pickup truck flipped on a dark, lonely road.
The 32-year-old player was found early Monday morning in north Raleigh, and the State Highway Patrol says he might have been speeding after drinking alcohol.
The truck rolled and ejected Chiasson, who was not wearing a seat belt and had been driving alone, investigators said. Weather was not a factor and no other vehicles were believed to have been involved.
“This is a tragedy that is impossible to put into words,” said Jim Rutherford, Carolina president and general manager.
Hours earlier in Boston, the Bruins ended the Hurricanes’ season with a 2-0 victory in Game 6. On Friday night, Chiasson scored the first goal in a 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Bruins.
“When you work together in our environment, you have a family among players and an extended family among wives and children that go to school together and play on sports teams together,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said at a news conference.
“It’s really an environment unlike any other. When a tragedy like this has happened, unfortunately … there’s no other way to put it except for we’ve lost a member of our family. It’s a very painful time for all of us.”
Team spokesman Chris Brown said two cases of beer and water, sports drinks, milk and vegetable juice were served on the team’s charter flight to Raleigh.
He didn’t know how much beer, if any, Chiasson drank. After the plane landed about 1 a.m. at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the players got into their vehicles and left.
“When you get on the plane, you’re pretty disappointed,” said Brown, fighting tears. “We lost a playoff series, but you figure out that it doesn’t really matter. You get a dose of reality.”
Chiasson is survived by his wife, Susan, two sons and a daughter.