Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss missing (updated)

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2013 11:25AM

Kristians Pelss, a 2010 Oilers draft pick, is missing in his home country of Latvia, with one Latvian news source reporting that he is dead – a report that has yet to be independently verified .

Arturs Vaiders, a reporter with an outlet in Latvia, appears (via Google Translate) to say he has confirmed information that the 20-year old Oilers prospect drowned under unexplained circumstances:

I have just returned from North America was one of the most talented young Latvian hockey players. He has died so far and still unexplained circumstances. Information that he has drowned and unfortunately this information is confirmed.

The police and state rescue service are quoted in the report as verifying that a man jumped into the Daugava River from the Stone Bridge in Riga, Latvia (pictured below), but declined to identify the man as Pelss or say whether that person had been found, dead or alive.

Pelss spent the 2012-13 season in the minors, playing for the Oilers affiliates in Oklahoma and Stockton. He was playing under a two-way entry-level contract that ran until 2015.

UPDATE. There have been various Twitter reports claiming that the family of Pelss disputes the report that Pelss is dead; the following comes from a Russian news agency:

This story will be further updated once more details emerge. In the meantime, Oilers Nation reminds our readers that information is sketchy, and the initial report that Pelss drowned has yet to be confirmed. Even if that report turns out to be accurate on the principle facts, the exact details of what happened are unknown. We also strongly encourage commenters to show respect for Pelss and his family at this difficult time.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#2 mlcselli
June 13 2013, 11:30AM
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OMG Shocked. I sincerely hope it's a false report.

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#4 pelhem grenville
June 13 2013, 03:57PM
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Q...didn't see what u said my friend... i'm guessing over the line and in that only you could say it poor taste again?

Eleven years ago today my son Jordan was killed by a drunk driver in the U.S.

He was 19

please. if you can . light a candle at seven p.m. your time zone and say peace out Jordan

many thanks and here's my vote to have Quicksilver Ballet back on these boards when JW decides that it's time.

many prayers to the Pelss family...

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#5 Kaiser Wilhelm
June 13 2013, 02:12PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Additionally, a number of otherwise acceptable comments quoting User: I'd rather have Shock and Awe, over just Bold have also been removed; this is not a reflection on their content but rather on the embedded quotation.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for your defense of the internet as something more than a troll cave. And yes, I was one of the commentators removed by the above policy.

Prayers go out to the Pelss family.

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#6 Gaylord Meatface
June 13 2013, 01:57PM
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Shock and awe guy:

I doubt you would be pragmatic about a family member of yours dying.

If was mental illness which drove him to this; it was not a choice as you say. Illness is not a choice. Your comments you made were.

Grow the F up otherwise you will someday have a harsh reality lesson.

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#7 blue31
June 13 2013, 03:03PM
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@StHenriOilBomb

"and whatever atmosphere you would like to promote is your business"

How about an atmosphere of respect and maturity?

We are not without humour here, but the original comment was terribly inappropriate. Maturity is knowing when to say something, and when to keep quiet. Apparently Shock&Awe and yourself have not reached that state yet. But you will.

Good call JW.

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#8 Six Rings
June 13 2013, 11:36AM
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I hope he is found safe and unharmed. :( #prayforpelss

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#9 Smokey
June 13 2013, 01:01PM
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RIP, Oilernation sends out collective prayers.

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#10 The Soup Fascist
June 13 2013, 01:43PM
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I have a son the same age and I can't tell you how bad I am feeling right now. Sad that a kid with what would appear to be everything going for him would make that choice (if reports are true). God Bless all family and friends that are impacted by this terrible news. I will be giving my kids an extra hug tonight. Tragic.

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#11 WhattaMike
June 13 2013, 01:55PM
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To...I'd rather have Shock and Awe, over just Bold....

Hey bud is this for you getting extra attention online???...cause ya are way out of line with issues of etiqutte and sympathy for others dude. GROW UP!!!

Whether Pelss chose this or not or that it was others not in sports (regular people) who lost their lives...this is tragic nonetheless.

Man!!!! What if this was your own kid or your nephew or a close friend's kid? Are ya that insensitive to tell those parents or yourself the same stuff ya just wrote/how ya wrote it?

Go get counselling dude..

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#12 Craig1981
June 13 2013, 01:59PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

And I wouldn't disrepect a single person out of those 25 who passed yesterday. And no, I feel for people who felt so terrible they took their own life. I have known more than 1 person you took their life and not once did I speak poor of them. Extreme depression is a terrible disese you or I might not be able to understand, which means we shoudn't judge it.

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#14 G Money
June 13 2013, 02:03PM
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@JW - thanks.

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#15 StHenriOilBomb
June 13 2013, 02:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

User I'd rather have Shock and Awe, over just Bold has been banned from the site for the time being. We don't have a specific policy about wildly disrespectful speculation into the fate of a missing person, but his comments in this piece were completely intolerable.

I don't agree that the question in comment was worthy of a ban. It was in no way demeaning toward KP, or anyone else in his situation. Bringing humor to tragedy - when not at the expense of anyone involved - is okay. It would be impossible for me to deal with the world otherwise. It was a shot at the Oilers, and not much more.

It is not my site though, and whatever atmosphere you would like to promote is your business. Many of your other patrons reacted fiercely as well, so I am not surprised that that conversation was removed - just a little disheartened that it caused such a negative reaction.

PS: no problem if you want to remove this comment, too. I didn't know where else to say it.

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#16 The Soup Fascist
June 13 2013, 03:32PM
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One other thing. I reread Staples report on the Journal website. The reports are that a young man leapt from the bridge. Are we making a leap ourselves that his goal was to harm himself or could this have been a reckless act of a young man that went wrong? I noted that Staples' report indicated that his clothing was left on the bridge and looking at the bridge from the picture above it is not a crazy height. An ill-advised daredevil act may also have been what occurred.

I am not saying this is what happened, only that there could be other explanations than an alleged suicide. I realize the outcome is the same - tragic. But we all should likely let things play out and in time the truth will come out.

No matter what the circumstance, this is a very sad day that a young man (whether he was a hockey player or not) appears lost.

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#17 LinkfromHyrule
June 13 2013, 11:33AM
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Oh no if that's true it's horrible. You have to wonder (if it's true and he did jump) what would cause him to do such a thing.

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#18 Jamie B.
June 13 2013, 11:34AM
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God, he's just a kid. Let it somehow not be true.

Always enjoyed watching him play for the Oil Kings, knowing he was an Oilers prospect. This is just horrible and depressing.

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#19 oldhippy
June 13 2013, 11:56AM
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Please let this be untrue. I really wanted this kid to be an NHLer.

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#20 Manfly
June 13 2013, 11:59AM
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oh my gawd! i hope he's OK? i hope he's not dead!! :(

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#21 A-Mc
June 13 2013, 12:05PM
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... i hope this is false.

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#22 Harlie
June 13 2013, 12:22PM
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I too am hoping for the best for Kristians. Sad tragic news if it is true.

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#23 Top Cheddar
June 13 2013, 12:31PM
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Horrible story if this is confirmed...

If it is true, can we assume depression or another mental illness was involved? That bridge and river look pretty daunting. Eeesh. Horrible times for his family and the hockey world.

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#24 Spurzey
June 13 2013, 12:42PM
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Praying for Kristians and his family.

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#25 They're $hittie
June 13 2013, 12:48PM
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fingers crossed. He likely would have been participating in Sochi next year.

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#26 vetinari
June 13 2013, 01:09PM
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I hope that it is a false report, but if not, condolences to his family.

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#27 StHenriOilBomb
June 13 2013, 01:20PM
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never mind.

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#28 Archaeologuy
June 13 2013, 01:25PM
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Terrible, terrible news

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#29 etownman
June 13 2013, 01:30PM
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Such a spirited hockey player & a pleasure to watch! Hope this in fact is not true! Shocked!

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#30 WhattaMike
June 13 2013, 01:31PM
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To...I'd rather have Shock and Awe, over just Bold....

Whatta Stupid and Bad Taste Joke Comment...

This is about a life of someone, whether pelss or not...not a joke for sports/Oilers.

That being said...judgmentally...I believe ya didnt mean harm or rudeness intentionally..just ya didnt think when ya wrote that.

If it is Pelss, or another..my condloences are being given to the family and close friends.

I was pulling for this kid to make it to the Oilers in the next couple of seasons upcoming.

R.I.P

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#31 G Money
June 13 2013, 02:03PM
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Man, what a horrible shock. My heart goes out to his family.

My business partner took his own life just a few short months ago, and stories like this really cut deep.

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#32 Rama Lama
June 13 2013, 02:08PM
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At times like this, one can only pray........I pray that he is found safe and alive and for his family, who must be totally devastated.

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#33 Dman09
June 13 2013, 02:09PM
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Seriously somebody must have contacts to find out the truth. *Cross fingers* SAY IT ISN'T SO.

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#34 Wayne Giberson
June 13 2013, 02:12PM
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Prayers to the Pelss family in this time!!

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#35 fifthcartel
June 13 2013, 02:14PM
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Really hoping he turns up alive. Crossing my fingers.

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#36 WhattaMike
June 13 2013, 02:17PM
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Thanks JW for removing the comments of the now banned One.

No one may ever say we all agree together on all sports issues/topics but this is appreciated from me.

Again, my sincere condolences to Pelss family and also to the Oilers team for losing one of their own prospects as well. The Oilers must be overwhelmed and saddened too just as many of us are

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#37 michael
June 13 2013, 02:19PM
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Wait and see. Trust but Verify. Hope this turns out for the best.

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#38 J.R.
June 13 2013, 02:28PM
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I hope this turns out to be false as well (obviously).

If not - I can't imagine the circumstances . My prayers and condolences to friends and family.

I just stopped in to see what Taylor Hall ate for breakfast or some other summer hockey "news"...this is a rather sobering article. I'm hoping for the best.

Sorry to see this.

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#39 WhattaMike
June 13 2013, 02:34PM
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As I passed along sincere condolences to the Pelss family I did then see that the Dallas stars just announced (NHL.com)that the NHL team has lost a kid draft prospect as well..Scott Winkler....23 yrs old.

Do not know of the circumatances yet with this tragedy....

This is definitely a bad sad day. Condolences to that family and to the Dallas Stars equally as much.

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#40 Milli
June 13 2013, 03:03PM
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I hope the reports are false, no family should have to endure losing a child. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family today.

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#41 They're $hittie
June 13 2013, 03:03PM
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Slow Clap Willis! Slow Clap!

Those Comments were not acceptable.

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#42 RyanCoke
June 13 2013, 03:10PM
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wow terrible... tragedies like these always make me think of my friends and loved ones who passed too soon. I wouldnt want anyone to go through this.

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#43 mlcselli
June 13 2013, 03:23PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

User I'd rather have Shock and Awe, over just Bold has been banned from the site for the time being. We don't have a specific policy about wildly disrespectful speculation into the fate of a missing person, but his comments in this piece were completely intolerable.

Thank you Jonathon. Nobody ever knows what goes on in a persons mind, their stressors or coping skills. Thankfully, most of us can find a friend or professional to talk about a crisis we find ourselves dealing with. There is a family suffering an unbearable loss right now that are probably inconsolable. To have such an insensitive dink come on here, with such offensive and obscene remarks, should never be given the privilege of commenting on this site. Everyone on here knows someone that has tried suicide either successfully or unsuccessfully. It is never funny and never a joke.

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#44 J-Dogg
June 13 2013, 03:23PM
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I hope this isn't true.

I've kept a closer eye on Pelss than most other prospects. It would be great to see a kid taken so late in the draft and from a country that doesn't graduate many of their nationals to the NHL make it.

At this point though I'd be happy to hear he's alive and well even if it meant never playing hockey again.

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#45 smiliegirl15
June 13 2013, 03:36PM
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Having such sketchy information and being unable to contact him for days doesn't bode well for this story. I pray for his safe return to his family. So sad.

Thank you Jonathan for removing said comments. They were shockingly inappropriate. I would hardly call it bringing humour into a situation. There was nothing funny about it at all. Glad I missed the second one. The inital comment was worthy of deletion but to follow it up, good call on the ban. We may not have a policy here in that regard as you've said, but his mother would have smacked him upside the head.

Conduct yourself each day as if that was the way you will always be remembered. I'm paraphrasing something I read not too long ago but the message was a very good one. The internet and this website doesn't just exist in Edmonton. Some people would do well to remember that.

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#46 Pajamah
June 13 2013, 03:40PM
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Weird circumstances surround the whole situation, which I'm sure makes it that much harder for the people who are friends/family to the young man.

Can only hope this is bad journalism (on the part of the Latvian press) and that he is safe, and will soon be with him family again.

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#47 Lochenzo
June 13 2013, 03:56PM
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Still hoping for the best here. The fact that we haven't heard from him yet is discouraging.

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#48 Lofty
June 13 2013, 04:01PM
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Possibly not the only tragedy in the hockey world today... Dallas Stars draft pick Scott Walker was found dead in his mothers home in Norway, age 23.

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#49 Curcro
June 13 2013, 04:26PM
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This is when you need to get on a plane to Riga and find out what is actually fact. Apparently they have now removed anything being confirmed and it is just suspected.

But actual informaton in Latvia is very minimal no real conclusions can be made.

But my gut tells me it is probably true.

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#50 719
June 13 2013, 04:29PM
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My thoughts and prayers go out to Pelss family. Let us hope he shows up okay.

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