Terry Trafford, a center for the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit who had been missing for more than a week, was found dead on Tuesday, team officials announced.
“It is with very heavy hearts that we announce that late this afternoon we were informed by the Michigan State Police that the body of Terry Trafford has been found,” the Spirit said in a statement on the team’s website. “Our deepest condolences are with Terry’s family and his friends both in Ontario and Michigan. Terry played on our team and was a member of the Spirit family for the last four years and he will be missed.”
Trafford’s body was found inside his vehicle at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Saginaw Township around 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to police. The cause of death wasn’t announced on Wednesday.
Trafford, a 20-year-old from Toronto, was last seen alive on March 3 at the Dow Event Center where the Spirit practice and play games. His girlfriend, Skye Cieszlak, told Michigan’s MLive.com that Trafford was distraught about being sent home by the Spirit because of team rule violations. She told The Toronto Sun that the disciplinary action stemmed from Trafford allegedly smoking marijuana while on the road in Owen Sound on Feb. 22.
Cieszlak told MLive.com that she received a March 2 message from Trafford saying that “his life was over and that he didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Craig Goslin, the Spirit’s president and managing partner, confirmed to MLive that Trafford was sent home for breaking team rules. But prior to the team’s action, Trafford was living with Goslin and his wife, Karolyn.
“The reason that he was with us was that he needed some mentoring,” Craig Goslin told MLive. “We made sure we mentored the young man.”
Goslin added: “He’s a good kid that seems to make some bad decisions at times.”
Trafford played 54 games for the Spirit this season and tallied 8 goals, 24 assists and 70 penalty minutes. In four seasons at Saginaw, he registered 29 goals, 49 assists and 182 penalty minutes in 221 games.
OHL Commissioner David Branch said Trafford’s death “is a tragic situation for all involved.”
“On behalf of the Ontario Hockey League, our teams, players and staff, I want to express our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Terry Trafford,” Branch said in a statement released by the OHL. “We will work closely with the Saginaw Spirit to provide any support required to the players and staff during this very difficult time. In addition, all of our teams will be offering support to their players.”