Prospect Kristians Pelss dies at 20

Updated: June 16, 2013, 12:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have confirmed that prospect Kristians Pelss has died. He was 20.

The Oilers released a statement Saturday saying the team was deeply saddened by the loss of Pelss, who went missing Tuesday and was feared drowned in a river near his home in Riga, Latvia.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said in a 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. I can't imagine how painful this situation is for the Pelss family."

Local media reported that Pelss jumped off a bridge in central Riga into the fast-flowing Daugava River.

Rescue services spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele said her department received a call at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday that a man had jumped from the bridge. Police began an investigation.

Police spokesman Tom Sadovskis said Friday police had "suspicions" the man on the bridge had been Pelss, but declined to say why or give further information.

Pelss arrived home in Riga on Monday after playing last season with Edmonton's top minor-league team, the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

He was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round in 2010.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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