The Moose Jaw Warriors didn't have a veteran forward in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Kootenay Ice.
19-year-old forward Ryan Peckford left the Warriors on Monday and returned home. Peckford hasn't requested a trade and has just decided to step away from the game.
"Ryan came in to meet with me first thing Monday morning and expressed at that time that he wasn't having fun playing the game any longer, it wasn't fun to come to the rink and he'd lost some passion for the game," said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.
"He's a good kid, he's a talented player, we're certainly disappointed, but at the end of the day, if your heart's not in it, these young guys have to make difficult decisions and Ryan has certainly made one, and we'll see if anything changes with his time at home and away from the game."
Peckford was in his second season with the Warriors after being acquired from the Victoria Royals in exchange for Noah Gregor. He posted seven goals and 22 points in 40 games last season with Moose Jaw.
In 20 games this year, the Stony Plain, AB product had eight goals and 16 points, including a four-goal game two weeks ago.
With the success that he'd been having recently and the team, which won its sixth straight game on Wednesday against Kootenay, Millar said the team was surprised by the decision by Peckford to leave the team.
"It certainly caught us off guard, but at the end of the day, there's a bit of a of trend, our league is dealing with a number of young guys that, for whatever reason, have decided to move on and leave their teams and I don't think you can pinpoint any specific reason other than each person is different," said Millar.
The Warriors plan to move forward with the players that they have remaining on the roster for the time being, which means some bigger roles for younger players.
16-year-old prospect Peyton McKenzie will be called up for the rest of the team's four-game Central Division road trip this week, but Millar added that was planned for development purposes prior to Peckford's decision.
"For us, we need to move forward, we have a great group of young guys that are playing well together, they seem like a very tight knit group, they're competing very hard and we need to concentrate on those guys and keep our success going," said Millar.
The Warriors will be in Edmonton on Friday to take on the Oil Kings.