Former NHL winger Chris Simon dies at age 52

Former NHL winger Chris Simon died at 52. Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders, his previous teams, announced his death Tuesday.

The powerful forward played for seven teams. He helped the Avalanche win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1995-96 after moving to Denver from the Quebec Nordiques.

"Chris was a great guy, a beloved teammate, and important to our first championship season," Avalanche president Joe Sakic said.

"He was a great hockey player who scored goals, was a leader in the dressing room, and was the first to protect his teammates. He was a great parent, son, brother, and friend off the rink. We'll miss him."

On social media, the Islanders said Simon "epitomized what it means to be an Islander, someone who wore his heart on his sleeve both on the ice and in the community."

NHL Alumni Association social media: "Chris was a major dressing room player and never hesitant to speak up for his teammates. He was a dear father, brother, son, and friend."

Tuesday's NHL statement called Simon a "fierce competitor and teammate" and offered sympathies. Simon played most of his career with the Washington Capitals and scored a career-high 29 goals and 49 points in 1999-2000. 

"Chris Simon was most definitely an intimidating guy on the ice," ex-teammate Mike Commodore wrote. We spent a lot of time together during Flames '04 because we lived in the hotel. He treated me very well. RIP Chris. Will miss you."

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