Chris Simon, who won Stanley Cup with Avalanche, dead at 52

Chris Simon, a former NHL forward who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, has died, the team announced on Tuesday. He was 52.

Simon died Monday night in his hometown of Wawa, Ontario, Canada, according to an NHL Players’ Association spokesperson who was in touch with the former player’s agent. A cause of death wasn’t immediately made known.

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“Chris was a great guy, a beloved teammate and an important part of our first championship season,” Avalanche team president Joe Sakic said in a statement. “He was a really good hockey player who could score goals, was a big presence in the dressing room and was the first person to stand up and defend his teammates. Off the ice, he was an unbelievable guy and a caring father, son, brother and friend. He will be sorely missed.”

The NHL put out a statement as well.

“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Chris Simon, who played in more than 800 NHL games over 15 seasons,” the league said. “A fierce competitor and teammate, Simon won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996 and reached the 1998 Stanley Cup Final with Washington as well as the 2004 Stanley Cup Final with Calgary.”

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“Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and former teammates.”

Players union spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon said Simon’s children and family were grieving over the sudden loss.

“For a big tough player, he was also a very kind, caring individual who was always respectful and grateful for advice,” his former agent, Larry Kelly, told the Associated Press.

Simon played in the NHL from 1992 to 2008.

He also spent time with the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild.

He scored 72 goals in 320 games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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