Editor's note: As 2011 comes to a close, NESN.com takes a look back at the year in sports. Our "11 in 11" series will run during the last 11 days of 2011, reviewing the highs and lows of the memorable year that was.
Death is never easy to deal with. And in 2011, the sports world lost some great ones, some unexpectedly.
Hockey was one sport in particular that suffered a series of unfortunate deaths. We lost a number of NHL enforcers during a short period of time and an entire KHL roster due to a tragic plane crash. But hockey wasn't the only sport impacted, as we saw each sport endure some tough times.
From champions to All-Stars to fighters to coaches to owners, none of these sports figures will ever be forgotten, nor will the families that were forced to cope with such deaths.