Former Estevan Bruins defenceman Nick Egan has passed away, the Mercury has learned.
Egan is believed to have died of a heart attack.
Egan, 21, is a native of New Jersey, growing up near Philadelphia. He joined the Bruins at the trade deadline during the 2012-13 season. Last year, after getting a couple of professional tryouts, he returned to the team as a 20-year-old.
Bruins head coach and general manager Chris Lewgood said the following in a news release:
"Today is a very sad day for all of us in the Estevan Bruins organization. The passing of Nick Egan has taken us by surprise to say the least.
"Nick was a warrior. He was, in a sense, a lone wolf in the dressing room but was very well liked and respected for the defenceman, and more importantly, the person we grew to know. Nick always had a smile on his face and a positive outlook. He made the Bruins community a better place.
"Nick and I talked quite a bit this summer and he was getting closer to signing a pro contract for next season. He texted me last week that he had received an offer. Nick still maintained his dream of playing in the NHL. His No. 1 priority, however, was definitely his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick's fiance Bri and the rest of his family."
Bruins left winger Austin Daae, a fellow 20-year-old last year, said his reaction to Egan's passing was one of shock.
"It's tough to be with someone every day for a year and work in the trenches with them every day. It's tough, especially being with teammates this morning, getting the news together. Even right now, it's tough to even talk about. I had some extra motivation to get a win today (at Estevan Motor Speedway), that's for sure.
Daae said he would remember his teammate as "just a good guy overall."
"He had his fiancee here and he was definitely close to the guys. We weren't super close, but he's a guy you're willing to battle for every night out on the ice together. That just brings guys together, knowing them for a year and becoming close buddies, it's tough to see, especially with the future. He was going to keep playing, I'm sure, as long as he could, and you have all that come to a halt."