Oilers’ prospect Kristians Pelss confirmed dead

Latvian news agencies have confirmed the death of Oilers’ prospect Kristians Pelss.

This Friday night a body was recovered near Vantovy Bridge in Riga, Latvia next to Kipsala beach. The body has been identified as Kristians Pelss by his family members.

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“We have identified the body. Family members confirmed it’s Kristians Pelss. We extend our sincere condolences to his family,” stated Latvian police.

Earlier this week Latvian police released news about an unidentified young man who either deliberately jumped or fell off Kamenny Bridge in Riga into Daugava river. The police had found the man’s clothes on the bridge. Witnesses suggested the man was Kristians Pelss, whose family was notified immediately.

He was reported missing this Monday after he landed in his home country. Despite the following picture appearing on Pelss’ Facebook profile, reports underlined his cell-phone was switched off ever since he left North America.

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Edmonton Oilers already reacted to the news with the following statement.

“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.”

Pelss was considered as one of the brightest young stars of Latvian hockey. He represented his country twice at the U18 World Championship and as many times at the World Juniors, captaining the team in 2012 in Calgary and Edmonton. He also appeared at the 2012 Memorial Cup as WHL champion with the Oil Kings. He split this season between the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL and Oklahoma Oil Barons of the AHL.

“I have so many things to say but what really needs to be said is this. Not only we’ve lost a great hockey player but we’ve also lost a great guy and a great friend. We lost our brother. Our hockey family lost a brother. However, he will always live in our hearts. Rest in peace, brother. Your smile will never be forgotten,” said Deniss Baskatovs, friend and former teammate of Pelss’.

Einars Pelss, Kristians’ father, is willing to build a monument in his son’s honor in his hometown of Preili (approximate population – 6,000 people). He is currently accepting donations.

The funeral date has not been set up just yet but it looks like it will take place this upcoming Wednesday.

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  • Jamie B.

    That photo is a comfort, from the reports I thought maybe he went missing as soon as he landed in Latvia. I doubt it helps at the moment but at least his family saw him.

    It’s tough to think we probably won’t ever have answers about why this happened. Rest in peace, Kristians, you will be remembered.

  • Jamie B.

    I hope that the Pelss family and their friends can one day read all the sympthay emails and messages that appear on this site so as to know of the many who gave condolences and supporting thoughts.

    I wish to send my own condolences to the family through here and may they find some solace and peace from this tragedy.

    May God put Kristian onto his heavenly hockey team as since that was his joy and love to do in this life which that he only briefly had. R.I.P

  • Jamie B.

    John 3/16. Psalms 22/23/24.Not enough words in the Bible to equal the grief felt right now by the Pelss family. Thank you for your sharing son with all the great hockey fans here and everywhere he went to play. The game of hockey gives us so much and these are the times when life becomes so much more important.

  • Jamie B.

    “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?” Indeed. I hope the clouds are frozen over and he is skating with legends. RIP young dude. RIP.

  • RexLibris

    I’d proposed this in another thread on the topic of Pelss’ passing but I’ll reiterate it here: I’d love to see the Oilers/Katz cooperate with the Hockey Canada equivalent in Latvia to establish some sort of award or funding model in Pelss’ name to help junior players develop.

    Maybe its just me, but I think that would be a nice way to honour the memory of this young man and what he meant to his family, friends and the country.

  • EasyOil

    Kristians, it was an honour to have known you. Your presence in our home when you visited with your best friend Martin Gernat or at Bistro Praha to share dinner with us was always such a joy and pleasure. We will miss the fine young man and hockey player we came to admire so much. God speed Kristians and rest in peace. You will always be in our hearts and in our thoughts with fond memories. We too will miss your smile and those mischievous sparkling eyes. Linda Scoular and Petr Sipek

    • EasyOil

      Deepest sympathies from an Oiler fan here in the UK, not to mention hockey fans everywhere. Kristians was a treasured Oiler, Baron, Thunder and Oil King and will never be forgotten.

      I agree with Rex that a memorial in Kristians’ name would be fitting. I always considered him an underrated prospect and definitely one to watch, and it would be great if the Oilers held a moments’ silence at the first home game of next season too.

  • EasyOil

    Saddest news I’ve heard in a long time. Pelss was a real soldier from what I understand. Always happy having the role the team would give him. He could have probably made more money in the KHL, but he decided to come to America and work his ass off to make it to the NHL. I think there wasn’t an Oilers fan who wasn’t rooting for him to make it.

    I hope the Oilers will make some kind of gesture to remember him. A minute of silence in the first home game maybe? How about using the 7th round draft choice on another latvian.

    Anyway my toughts are with his family.