(EDMONTON, AB) – The Edmonton Oilers are deeply saddened by the loss of Kristians Pelss, a young man who played in our organization.
Kristians had gone missing earlier in the week after returning home to Riga, Latvia, for the off-season. Exact details in regards to what led to this tragedy remain unclear. He was just 20 years old.
"This is the news we feared. Kristians was an outstanding man and we feel terrible he has left us at such a young age," said Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish. "I can’t imagine how painful this situation is for the Pelss family. On behalf of everyone working at the Oilers, Oil Kings and our affiliate teams, as well as all of our fans, I offer our most sincere and deepest condolences to his family and friends. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with them as they work through this incredibly difficult time."
Reports from Latvia had indicated Pelss had jumped off a bridge, in central Riga, into the Daugava River. Pelss was in Riga after playing last season with Edmonton’s minor-league affiliate the Oklahoma City Barons, of the American Hockey League.
After being drafted by the Oilers in the 7th round in 2010, Kristians showed great promise as a player with the Oil Kings and then the Oilers minor league affiliates in Oklahoma City and in Stockton, California.