Defenseman Bryan Rufenach, a 2007 seventh-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings, died recently while traveling in Switzerland. No cause of death has been announced.
Rufenach, 23, played his first pro season in 2011-12, splitting the season between the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL and the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. He had 33 points in 54 ECHL games and two assists in 13 AHL games.
"The entire team's thoughts and prayers are with Bryan's family as they get through this difficult time," Toledo coach Nick Vitucci said. "Bryan was a great teammate and would play any role asked of him."
"Bryan was an up-and-coming player in our organization who improved a great deal this season and had a bright future ahead of him," Grand Rapids coach Curt Fraser said. "He was a really good kid -- smart and quiet -- who understood his role, worked hard every day he came to the rink and was a pleasure to coach. We're going to miss him. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to Bryan’s family and friends."
A native of Barrie, Ont., Rufenach played four seasons at Clarkson University, where he finished with 21 goals and 55 points in 136 games.
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