Edmonton Oilers prospect Kristian Pelss was confirmed dead Saturday after he had been missing in his home country of Latvia. Pelss was 20 years old.
"The Edmonton Oilers are deeply saddened by the loss of Kristians Pelss, a young man who played in our organization," the team said in a statement Saturday. "Kristians had gone missing earlier in the week after returning home to Riga, Latvia, for the offseason. Exact details in regards to what led to this tragedy remain unclear. He was just 20 years old."
Pelss was believed to have drowned after reports surfaced of a man diving into Daugava River on Tuesday. Latvian officials confirmed that a body found was Pelss.
"This is the news we feared. Kristians was an outstanding man and we feel terrible he has left us at such a young age," Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said in a statement. "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 chosen by Edmonton in the seventh round (No. 181) of the 2010 NHL Draft. This season, the forward had eight points (one goal) in 20 games for Oklahoma City. He had 42 goals and 41 assists in 126 regular-season games for the Oil Kings from 2010-12.