The Edmonton Oil Kings And Kristians Pelss: Closure
It is almost a year since Kristians Pelss – Oil King, Thunder, Baron, Team Latvia and Oiler – passed away. Since that tragic day, every member of the Oiler organisation who knew Kristians has undoubtedly been carrying a heavy heart, but none more-so than his former Oil King teammates.
Those brothers with whom Pelss skated into battle time and again, felt the full weight of his death despite it being a year since he had played a crucial role in the team’s run to an astonishing WHL Championship and berth in the 2012 Memorial Cup.
To honour Kristians, the team not only wore patches on their jersey’s, or in goalie Tristan Jarry’s case an image of Pelss holding the Ed Chynoweth Cup aloft on his helmet, but during the playoffs and Memorial Cup carried his #26 jersey – complete with poppy – around with them at all times. Pelss was there in 2014 when they once again lifted the Ed Chynoweth Cup, and he was right there yesterday when they jubilantly lifted the holy grail of junior hockey, the Memorial Cup.
The most touching moments came courtesy of Oil King forward, and one of Pelss’ closest friends, Mitch Moroz. Looking and pointing to the sky for a quick moment following his Cup-winning goal, Moroz was lost for words and visibly emotional following the victory when asked about Kristians. Voice trembling, tears welling, Moroz finished with a simple, but beautifully poignant remark.
“I wish he was here.”
With this win, Moroz and his teammates enter the history books, but perhaps more importantly can obtain a kind of closure in the knowledge that they have honoured Kristians’ memory in the greatest possible manner.
The Edmonton Oil Kings of 2014 made history several times this season, but after everything only one thing mattered to these young men: Play For Pelss.
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