SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The Saginaw Spirit minor league hockey team confirmed Tuesday that police found the body of 20-year-old player Terry Trafford, who disappeared eight days earlier after receiving discipline from the club.
Michigan State Police informed team officials of the discovery Tuesday afternoon, the team said in a statement posted on its website.
Trafford, a Toronto native, was last seen about 9:30 a.m. March 3 at the Dow Event Center, the Ontario Hockey League club's home arena.
"Our deepest condolences are with Terry's family and his friends both in Ontario and Michigan," the Spirit said in the statement. "Terry played on our team and was a member of the Spirit family for the last four years and he will be missed."
State police Lt. Brian Cole told The Saginaw News and WJRT-TV on Tuesday that a trooper found a man's body in an SUV similar to the one that Trafford operated outside a Wal-Mart store in Saginaw County's Saginaw Township.
"One of our troopers was patrolling the parking lot, observed a vehicle which appeared to match the description of the vehicle that the missing player was last seen driving," Cole told WJRT. "He observed a deceased male inside the vehicle."
Police did not indicate a cause of death. Cole said a state police crime lab was called to the scene.
Cole told The Associated Press that Trafford was considered a "voluntary missing person."
Spirit President and General Manager Craig Goslin told The Saginaw News that the center was sent home "for a violation of rules."
Trafford wasn't permanently cut from the team but would "have to change his behavior and make some adjustments," Goslin said.
In his four seasons with Saginaw, Trafford made 29 goals and 49 assists. He had eight goals and 24 assists this season.
Skye Cieszlak told the newspaper 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."