Latvian officials confirm death of Oilers prospect Pelss

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Sad news today in the hockey world. Missing Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss has been found dead in his home country of Latvia.

Pelss was reported missing days ago and there was a report he had drowned. That initial report turned out to be true. Here’s a translated quote from Latvian news site Apollo.

State Police Riga Region Department informed that the relatives of the dead body of inspections confirmed that it is Pelšs.

“After the deceased was able to pull out of the water, our staff did everything possible to see that person’s identity. We have now found a young personality, and we have shown that the relatives of the dead body of his views,” inform the State Police.

Pelss, 20, played for both the Stockton Thunder (ECHL) and the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) this season.

Update (3:26 p.m. ET): The Oilers have released a statement on Pelss’ passing.

“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.”

Oilers release statement on reported missing minor-leaguer Pelss

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Reports surfaced today on Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss saying he’s gone missing and may have drowned in his home country of Latvia.

While there’s no confirmation on what, if anything, has happened to him, the Edmonton Oilers released a statement acknowledging the reports.

The Edmonton Oilers organization, including the Edmonton Oil Kings, Oklahoma City Barons and affiliate Stockton Thunder, is aware of the reports regarding Kristians Pelss going missing while visiting Riga, Latvia, this week. There has been contradictory information reported, at times, and we are trying to confirm the facts. Once we are able to do that, we will be able to offer further comment. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Pelss family. Kristians spent two years with the Oil Kings before beginning his pro career in the Oilers system, splitting last season between the Barons and the Thunder.

It’s distressing to hear any reports like those about Pelss especially given the other sad news today concerning a Stars prospect who passed away. Pelss made news earlier this season after receiving a 21-game suspension in the ECHL.

We’ll keep you updated on Pelss’ story as information is made available.

Oilers prospect receives 21-game suspension from ECHL

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Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss did a bad, bad thing.

The Latvian product was suspended for 21-games and fined an undisclosed amount by the ECHL for delivering a two-handed slash to the face of an unsuspecting opponent, causing an injury.

Pelss, currently playing for the Stockton Thunder, committed the brutal penalty on December 1 in a game against Bakersfield. What may surprise you is that he’s not exactly a goon. In 13 games with the Thunder, Pelss had just 15 penalty minutes. Now he’ll have until mid-January to think about what he did.

That kind of suspension is rare to see in any level of hockey, although we’ve seen Phoenix’s Raffi Torres get a similar suspension for his head-hit on Marian Hossa in last year’s playoffs.