Just days after the 27-year-old tough guy died suddenly in his southern Alberta home, a large crowd turned out on a bright sunny day at Albert Stella Arena for Rypien's funeral.
Rypien, who last played with the Vancouver Canucks, died Monday at his offseason home in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, where a police official said a call was answered for a "sudden and non-suspicious" death.
Rypien, who struggled with depression, had signed with the Jets during the offseason after six years with the Canucks.
Rypien's death came as a surprise to many who knew him and thought he had turned a corner. They said he was looking forward to playing for the newly relocated Jets.
"My overwhelming question is why? How could this happen?" his uncle, Allan Rypien Jr., said. "He had a great family, great friends and a great job.
"He fought this disease with everything he had in him. If you knew Rick, he fought with everything he had in him. Unfortunately the disease won the battle."
A number of minor hockey players wearing Crowsnest Pass Thunder hockey jerseys were among those in attendance.
An autographed No. 37 jersey from Rypien's time with the Canucks and a poster from his days with the WHL's Regina Pats were part of items scattered among bunches of flowers.
The program, with a photo of a smiling Rypien in a blue Vancouver jersey, said simply, "Until we all meet again."