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Awful family tragedy strikes NHL defenseman Xavier Ouellet.

This is just terrible.

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We have some terrible news to report.

According to an announcement made during today's broadcast of the Sunday afternoon match up between the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks, former Detroit Red Wings draft pick Xavier Ouellet has suffered a terrible family tragedy. The announcement revealed that Ouellet, whom the Red Wings selected in the second round (48th overall) of the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft has lost his mother to cancer, she had been battling the disease for some time now. Ouellet's mother lost her fight with the disease that has claimed so many loved ones from so many people sometime yesterday although we do not have any more details to share at this time.

It has to be a devastating blow for a talented young man that has his fair share of up and downs during his short career in the National Hockey League thus far and it paints his struggles on the ice in an entirely new light. Ouellet has struggled to maintain a consistent spot on a National Hockey League roster be it with the Red Wings, again the team that drafted him, or the Montreal Canadiens who's organizational umbrella he is now under. In fact this season after appearing in just 19 games for the Habs Ouellet was sent down to the American Hockey League where he would join the Laval Rocket, putting up 3 goals and 16 assists for 19 points over 27 games in the American Hockey League.

That being said if in the back of his mind the entire time there has been the overwhelming thought of his sick, ailing, or even worse dying mother not a single person in this world would blame him for not having a 100% focus on the game of hockey. Obviously the fact that she has now passed will certainly not help matters and although nothing has been officially announced at this time I imagine he will be taking a personal leave of absence from the team at this time. 

Ouellet has been a frustrating player for fans both in Detroit and in Montreal but I'm hopeful that both those fan bases will rally around him in this difficult time and send him all the love and support he deserves. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Ouellet family at this trying time.