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.
“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.
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.