SAGINAW, Mich. – Officials with the Saginaw Spirit say Michigan State Police have told them that the body of missing junior hockey player Terry Trafford has been found.
A man’s body was found Tuesday afternoon in an SUV matching the description of one belonging to Trafford in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Saginaw County’s Saginaw Township.
Trafford reportedly last was seen about 9:30 a.m. on March 3 at the Dow Event Center, the home arena for the Spirit.
In a statement on the Ontario Hockey League team’s website, the Spirit offered condolences to Trafford’s family and his friends in Ontario and Michigan.
Saginaw Spirit president Craig Goslin had said Trafford was sent home prior to his disappearance “for a violation of rules,” but said Trafford wasn’t permanently cut from the team.
At one point in the search, police said they believed Trafford, a centre with the Spirit, might have left the state to return to his hometown of Toronto.
“On behalf of the Spirit we would like to thank the police who were looking for Terry,” the team said in a statement.
“We have reached out to Terry’s parents and will look to provide them with support over the coming days.”
OHL commissioner David Branch issued a statement expressing condolences to Trafford’s family and friends, saying it’s “a tragic situation for all involved.”
He thanked police for their efforts, and said the league will co-operate with any investigations into Trafford’s death.
Trafford spent four seasons with the Spirit, with 29 goals and 49 assists. He had eight goals and 24 assists this season.
Skye Cieszlak told The Saginaw News that she and Trafford have dated since 2010 and that he “was devastated” after the team sent him home “for partying on a road trip.”
Cieszlak said Trafford sent her a text message Sunday that said, “his life was over and that he didn’t want to do it anymore.”
The league said Wednesday’s game between the Spirit and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds has been postponed, and will be rescheduled at a later date.
— with files from The Associated Press