Vancouver Canucks grant forward Rick Rypien an indefinite leave of absence

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks have granted forward Rick Rypien an indefinite leave of absence.

It’s the second time in three years the 26-year-old has left the team to deal with undisclosed personal matters.

“Rick is a valued member of the organization and the club will continue to support Rick in every way possible,” the team said in a release.

Rypien was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s last two games and didn’t attend practice on Thursday.

Alain Vigneault, who coached Rypien when both were with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, refused to elaborate on the situation: “I’m not going to comment more than what the team’s statement said.”

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Rypien received a six-game suspension from the NHL in October after grabbing a fan on his way to the dressing room in Minnesota.

He had one assist in nine games this season.

Rypien signed with the Canucks as a free agent in 2005 and has spent his entire NHL career with the team.