Thursday was not a good day for hockey.
A 23-year-old prospect of the Dallas Stars was found dead in his parents’ home in Asker, Norway while a 20-year-old Edmonton Oilers’ minor-leaguer is missing after reportedly jumping into a river in Riga, Latvia.
Scott Winkler had been drafted in the third round by Dallas in 2008. He had spent the past four seasons playing at Colorado College and, according to his teammates, was both upbeat and well-liked.
“Everyone loved him and respected him,” team captain William Rapuzzi told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “He was a brother to all of us. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Winkler had 13 goals and 15 points as a senior and was found at his parents’ home after his mom returned from work. No other details have been made available at this time.
Jim Nill, the Stars’ newly-named general manager, issued a statement saying, “The Dallas Stars are heartbroken to hear about Scott’s passing. Scott was a wonderful young man with great character and a bright future; we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Kristians Pelss, the Oilers’ prospect, has yet to be seen after a witness said they saw a man jump into the Daugava River in Latvia. Clothing was found on the bridge where the man jumped but a search of the river had produced nothing.
No one has been able to contact Pelss, who was a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings’ WHL championship team in 2011-2012. Police and rescue officials have been reluctant to release details.
The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Pelss was a seventh-round draft pick of the Oilers. Last season, he had 28 goals for the Oil Kings and had appeared in 20 games with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.