We were very fortunate to get to know Derek when he and Sean were teammates and roommates with the Tigers. We always used to joke when he and Sean would enter a room as he would always walk behind Sean as if he was his personal body guard. That was the type of guy Derek was,he always had their back!!
After a game with the Tigers one night Sean's 2 yr old cousin refused to talk to Sean as he was afraid of him since he had been wearing a goalie mask during the game. Ironically Derek bent down and started talking to little Dylan, picked him up and we were able to get a pic of them. Derek truly was that teddy bear that everyone talked about off the ice and was loved by people of all ages.
We remember having the pleasure of watching him play in the Saddledome with the Wild and along with Kelly and Doris Sullivan getting together with him after the game. We were so proud of him and we told him so. He was so humbled by our comment.This was the Derek we knew and loved.
Joanne, Len and family our prayers go out to you. We can't imagine what you are going through and wish we lived closer so we could offer our condolensces in person. We hope your many beautiful memories of Derek will help keep him close to your heart. Know that Derek will be your guardian angel and your protector.
Derek you will be missed by many, and we feel fortunate that we got to know you when you were a Jr player. You worked so hard to get to the NHL and no player deserved it more than you. We love you,will miss you and will never forget you. Please watch over your family and comfort them as they are going through this very difficult time.
The Connors family