Vancouver's Rick Rypien played his first full NHL season in 2009-10. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

The Vancouver Canucks announced on Thursday that forward Rick Rypien has been granted an indefinite leave of absence to attend to personal matters.

Rypien, 26, has played all 119 career games with the Canucks but found himself in hot water with the NHL early this season.

He was suspended for six games after grabbing a fan near the Vancouver bench during an Oct. 19 game against the Minnesota Wild.

Rypien apologized for the incident soon after and pledged to behave more professionally.

"It's a real eye-opener for me, so I think I'm going to come back real strong and better than ever," he said after the suspension was handed down. "I think I'm going to be more focused and more determined to play the game that I love the most."

In nine games this season, he has one assist and 31 penalty minutes.

With files from The Canadian Press