BBG&CS: Tributes to Kristians Pelss (1992-2013)

(Photo courtesy Steven Christy. All Rights Reserved.)

| This weekend the Edmonton Oil Kings paid tribute to their former teammate and friend Kristiāns Pelšs who died tragically in Latvia this summer following his return from Oklahoma City. The Oil Kings coaches, trainers and teammates remember him fondly and talk about his time with the team and what impact he made upon their lives and team. The entire team wore Pelss’ number 26 jersey for warm-ups. What a lovely, magnificent sight — an entire team of number 26, viewed through tear-filled eyes.

“On a night when they honoured the life of teammate and friend Kristians Pelss, it was only fitting the Edmonton Oil Kings pull off a victory. […] The game began with an emotional pregame ceremony honouring Pelss, the former Oil King and Edmonton Oilers draft pick who died tragically in his home country of Latvia this summer. Oil Kings players wore Pelss’ number 26 jersey for warm-ups, with those jerseys being auctioned off in support of the Oil Kings Education Association.” — via Edmonton Oil Kings

Pelss, also an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, passed away this summer in his home country of Latvia at the age of 20. Over two seasons with the Oil Kings from 2009-2011, Pelss played 126 games and scored 42 goals and 83 points with the team. He also played in 21 career playoff games, racking up 12 points, including 10 in 17 games en route to the 2011-12 WHL Championship. In 2012-13, Pelss played in the Oilers farm system for the Oklahoma City Barons and Stockton Thunder.

The Oil Kings have dedicated the season to Pelss’ memory, adopting the motto “Play for Pelssy.” A patch worn inside their jerseys displays the credo, and Pelss is also honoured with a helmet sticker featuring his number and initials and the Latvian flag.

The Oil Kings will all don Pelss’ number 26 jersey for warm-ups against the Tigers, and those jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Edmonton Oil Kings Education Fund. There will be a pregame tribute to some of the highlights of Pelss’ time in Edmonton and a moment of silence.” — via Edmonton Oil Kings

Pelss Tribute Video via the Edmonton Oil Kings

Memories of Pelssy via the Edmonton Oil Kings

Play for Pelssy via the Edmonton Oil Kings

Remembering Pelssy via the Edmonton Oil Kings

I have thought often of Kristiāns over this summer. In Oklahoma City we knew him only a short portion of a season but even in that time he found a place in all of our hearts. At OKC Barons training camp this week a sticker appeared on the Barons helmet with Pelss’ initials “KP” — a remembrance of a special teammate and friend.

(Photo courtesy Steven Christy. All Rights Reserved.)

On Friday at the Edmonton Oilers NHL preseason game in Oklahoma City, the OKC Hockey Booster Club offered Pelss buttons and wristbands for donations to be made in his name to Special Olympics of Oklahoma. (Contact Josie Newton on twitter at @Jo_Jo1_ for more information.)

Dec. 29 Barons Outdoor Skate with Fans. (Photo courtesy Steven Christy. All Rights Reserved.)