Utah physician’s assistant, former Grizzlies team member charged in NHL player’s death

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah man faces several felony charges in connection with the death of a former professional hockey player.

A document filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York names Oscar Johnson, a physician's assistant, as a defendant who allegedly supplied Percocet to another defendant, former Utah Grizzlies player Jordan Hart.

Hart is accused of selling the medication to the victim, who KMSP-TV in Minneapolis identified as Derek Boogard, who played for the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild.

According to the charging document, Boogard died in Minneapolis on May 13, 2011 of an accidental overdose of oxycodone and alcohol - two weeks after having purchased Percocet pills from Hart.

The document states Johnson worked with a medical group that provided services for the Utah Grizzlies and that he started writing regular Percocet prescriptions for Hart in 2009. Johnson continued writing prescriptions for Hart over a two year period, even after Hart was no longer playing for the Grizzlies, the document said.

Johnson is accused of prescribing 2,920 Percocet pills, most of which were 10 milligrams each, for Hart.

Hart moved to New York after the 2008-2009 ECHL season and continued receiving Percocet pills from Johnson by mail, the filing said.

Boogard had also moved to New York to play for the Rangers after his stint with the Wild. The document said Boogard was addicted to pain pills and began asking teammates for a Percocet source.

Another Rangers player then approached Hart, who agreed to sell Percocet to Boogard around November 2010, the document said.

Boogard began rehabilitational treatment in California the following April after he was seen barely able to stand up while skating at practice, the filing said, and he was released later that month to pack his belongings in New York and move back to Minneapolis for the summer. Before he left New York, he gave Hart a $4,000 check to pay for prescription drugs, the filing said.

According to the charging document, Boogard returned to Minneapolis and gave his brother a bag of various prescription drugs, saying he didn't trust himself with it. He then returned to the rehabilitational facility in California.

Around May 12, 2011, the filing said, Boogard was granted to leave the rehab facility to attend a family event.  He flew from California to Minneapolis, where he asked his brother for a blue pill from the bag he had given him earlier.

During the night of May 12, Boogard, his brother and a group of friends then visited several "social locations," including bars, in downtown Minneapolis, where, according to the charging document, Boogard drank heavily. They returned to Boogard's brother's apartment around 3 or 4 a.m.

Boogard was found dead in a bed at the apartment around 6 p.m. on May 13, 2011.

Johnson and Hart each face 27 counts of distribution/possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Johnson also faces a charge of knowingly and willingly making a materially false, fictitious and fradulent statement for allegedly lying to a DEA agent about the prescriptions.