Hopeful players found dead

Winkler died back home in Norway; Latvian junior Pelss drowned

14.06.2013
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Scott Winkler, left, found dead. Kristians Pelss, right, is missing. Photos: Magda Dolecka, Andy Devlin / HHOF-IIHF Images

OSLO/RIGA – The Norwegian Ice Hockey Association confirmed on Thursday that 23-year-old national team player Scott Winkler is dead. He was found at his home in Asker, Norway on Wednesday.

The cause of death is not known. Scott Winkler was one of Norway’s most promising players. In last year as a junior in 2010, Winkler had most goals, assists and points while leading Norway’s U20 team to promotion to the top pool of the IIHF World Junior Championship.

Winkler had just completed his four years at Colorado College where he played and graduated in economics. He was named to the All-Academic Team on three consecutive years, a recognition bestowed on players who combined athletics and academics in an outstanding way.

Winkler was drafted by the NHL Dallas Stars, in the third round in 2008. In 2012, Winkler played three games with Norway’s men’s senior national team.

"Scott was a true athlete and he excelled in school," said Robert Jonson from Norway’s Athletic High-Performance College which Winkler attended before going overseas. "He was a great character, a good friend with all his teammates. There was something special with Scott," Jonson told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.

Both the Dallas Stars and Colorado College issued statements on Thursday.

In an unrelated incident, Latvian national junior team player Kristians Pelss, 20, was missing for several days after what is believed to be a drowning accident in his native Latvia.

Authorities confirm that they have received information which said that a young man dove from a bridge into the Daugava river in Riga and did not appear later. Latvian Police confirmed that Pelss has been reported as missing since Monday or Tuesday this week.

His dead body was found on Friday night. Police confirmed that relatives of the player identified Pelss on Saturday.

Kristians Pelss was the captain of the Latvian national junior team 2012 and he became the Western Hockey League champion with the Edmonton Oil Kings last season. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 and he played in the Oilers’ minor league organization in 2012/2013, both in the American Hockey League and in the ECHL.

Pelss returned to Latvia from North America last Monday.

Compiled by IIHF.com staff, from various sources      

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