As the search continues for missing Terry Trafford, his friends and family are growing more concerned. The 20-year-old Saginaw Spirt player has not been seen or heard from since last Monday.
“His family is devastated,” said Skye Cieszlak, Trafford’s girlfriend of four years. “My family is devastated. Me, myself, I’m miserable.”
On Monday morning, while speaking with Yahoo! Sports, Cieszlak and her family were en route to a Saginaw police station to double check that a missing persons report had been filed with local authorities. On Saturday evening, when contacted by a reporter about Trafford’s disappearance the officer on the Saginaw County Central Dispatch night desk had no knowledge of a report being filed.
“I know everyone is saying that the Saginaw police are involved but I want to make sure,” said Cieszlak.
Trafford had been seen last at the Dow Event Center, the home of the Spirit, on March 3. It is believed he was heading back home to Toronto, but Toronto Police Const. Victor Kwong told The Canadian Press that authorities have no record of Trafford crossing the border.
A missing persons report was filed earlier with police at Toronto’s 12 Division. The police issued a release on Sunday to ask for the public’s help in finding the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Trafford and his green Chevy pick-up truck with Michigan plates: CJA 2235.
The last time Cieszlak said she spoke to Trafford was on March 2, the night before he disappeared. She said the Toronto native was upset after being told he was being suspended by the Spirit for disciplinary reasons. The last game Trafford played for the Spirit was on Feb. 17. During their game on Sunday against the Plymouth Whalers, Trafford was announced as a scratch.
“When I spoke to him he was completely devastated because he told me that the Spirit sent him home for good and that they didn’t want him back on the team because he had gotten in trouble,” said Cieszlak. “That’s what Terry had told me.”
Concerned about his state of mind, Cieszlak said she asked him to come to her house to talk about the situation.
“I told him I would help him get through it and we would be fine,” said Cieszlak. “I told him if he wasn’t on the team anymore we could work something out and take classes.
“I tried to calm him down.”
Apart from a 70-word press release from the Spirit, both the team and the Ontario Hockey League have remained silent on the situation. At the time of writing, messages left for head coach Greg Gilbert, general manager Jim Paliafito and team president Craig Goslin had not been returned. A message left for OHL vice-president Ted Baker was also not returned.
“The entire Spirit organization is very concerned for the young man and we hope and pray that he is safe and found soon,” said the Saginaw release issued on Sunday.
According to friends, Trafford’s cell phone is no longer accepting calls and text messages are not going though. They say this sort of behavior isn’t in keeping with Trafford’s personality.
“Terry is a good kid,” said former teammate Gregg Sutch, who played with Trafford in Saginaw last season. “He was always doing something in the change room, always had a hearty laugh and meant well.
“This is a huge shock. He was always happy around the boys.”
Trafford, a centre, had spent his entire four-year junior career in Saginaw after being selected in the third round of the 2010 OHL draft. In 221 games Trafford scored 29 goals and had 78 points for Saginaw. He played his minor hockey with the Mississauga Reps and had attended PEAC – a school for elite athletes – in Toronto.
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