The former Tiger center 23, was found dead at his parents’ home in Asker, Norway on Wednesday, the college confirmed Thursday morning.
His positive attitude regardless of the situation endeared him to teammates and friends.
“Everyone loved him and respected him,” 2012-13 captain William Rapuzzi said. “He was a brother to all of us. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“He treated everyone great. He was always in a good mood and was always there for the other guys whenever you needed someone. He went out of his way to help others. He was someone you always wanted to hang out with because he was always so positive.”
The cause of death for Winkler, who graduated last month with an economics degree, is unknown.
“The first thing you feel is shock and second, you hope it isn’t true,” Ralph said. “Scott had been working very hard and done a great job preparing himself for professional camps this summer.”
“It’s unfathomable that something like this can happen to someone his age. He had such a bright future ahead of him. I’d like to ask all Colorado College fans and supporters of college hockey everywhere to keep the Winkler family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The Asker, Norway native, 23, was a third-round selection (89th overall) of the Dallas Stars in the 2008 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder finished with 63 points (24 goals) in 120 career games in four years as a Tiger, including a career high 28 points (13 goals) as a senior.
“The Dallas Stars are heartbroken to hear about Scott’s passing,” said general manager Jim Nill. “Scott was a wonderful young man with great character and a bright future; we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
He came to the United States in 2007 to play for the Russell Stover midget major AAA team in Overland Park, Kan. He played junior hockey for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League in 2008-09 before enrolling at Colorado College.
The work he put in to improve as a hockey player and as a student was considerable.
“He was very dedicated and hard-working,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “He would come in before class to get in extra work and then do the team workouts.”
“It’s still hard to believe. I feel badly for the Winkler family, his friends, teammates and everyone who knew him.”
Memorial services and other details will be announced as available.
Here is a sampling of the condolences expressed via Twitter after news spread of former Tiger Scott Winkler’s unexpected death at age 23:
Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College senior goalie
Your gonna be greatly missed winksy. I’ll never forget the memories we made over our 3 years. Miss you so much and love you brother. RIP
Jared Hanson. CC sophomore forward
Winks you were an amazing teammate and even better man, words can’t describe how much this world will miss you. I love you brother.
Chris Hartsburg, former CC center
Never met Scott Winkler but so saddened to hear about his passing. He is a Tiger and that is what ties us all together. #saddaytobeatiger
Richard Bachman, former CC goalie
Deeply saddened to hear the news of Scott Winkler passing. You will be truly missed!! #tigerfamily
Matthew Tabrum, Denver junior forward
Thoughts and prayers go out to the Winkler family. Hockey means family. Scott you will be missed. #goldpanrivalry #25
Tate Maris, former North Dakota goalie
Thoughts and prayers to Scott Winkler, his family, and the CC Tigers. Really tough seeing a bright future cut short.
Kenny Reiter, former Minnesota-Duluth goalie
Deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and teammates of Colorado College forward Scott Winkler. Sad day for hockey #CCTigers
Danny Doremus, Denver junior forward
Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Scott Winkler. Sadden to hear the news of a fellow college hockey player pass #R.I.P25
Danny Kristo, former North Dakota forward
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Scott winkler. Always sad to see someone from the hockey world leave us. RIP 25
Dillon Simpson, North Dakota senior defenseman
Colten St. Clair, North Dakota sophomore forward
Thoughts and prayers for Scott Winkler, his family and the cc tigers
Dan Senkbeil, North Dakota junior forward
Thoughts and prayers go out to the Winkler family. Sad day for hockey #RIP
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Scott Winkler. Our hockey community lost a great one today.