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Kevin Bieksa pays tribute to Rick Rypien with

Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 19: Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks lines up Kyle Brodziak #21 of the Minnesota Wild for a hit during the first period in NHL action on December 19, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Rich Lam

Rick Rypien’s suicide touched a lot of lives, including former teammates such as Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.’s Tracey Myers goes behind Bieksa’s drive to help re-launch, a site designed to reach out to people suffering from mental illnesses - including the issues Rypien couldn’t overcome.

“What he always talked about doing was giving back, doing something that could help other kids who were in the same situation as him, sharing his story and struggles,” Bieksa said. “This is just kind of lending that ear, showing there are other people out there. It’s kind of me carrying on Rick’s legacy.”

Bieksa estimates that about 40,000 people have visited the site since it re-launched and players are getting behind the cause. Myers points out that Henrik Sedin wore a T-shirt advertising during the 2012 All-Star weekend, for one. Bieksa hopes to help people like Rypien, whose death was “obviously the biggest loss” he’s had to endure.

“A lot of people are saying how much they appreciate it, that it’s a good idea. Some people are admitting they’re currently struggling with depression or anxiety and the website is a great help,” Bieksa said. “That means a lot to get those responses.”