Former Pittsburgh Penguins minor-league player and Wheeling Nailers head coach David Gove was found dead in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
According to KDKA-TV’s Ralph Ionnatti, the cause of death is suspected to be a heroin overdose. Gove was 38.
He spent the final two seasons of his career with the Penguins’ top affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
For the 2015-16 season, Gove was a coach for the Wheeling Nailers, assuming the head coach role in January following the promotions of Mike Sullivan from Wilkes-Barre to Pittsburgh and Clark Donatelli from Wheeling to Wilkes-Barre.
Gove finished the regular season with a 22-13 record and lead the Nailers into the postseason, but was forced to take an indefinite personal leave by the team on April 28 as the Nailers entered the second round of the ECHL’s Kelley Cup playoffs.
The Nailers ended up making the Kelley Cup finals for only the second time in franchise history. Jeff Christian, who took over after Gove’s leave of absence, was named permanent head coach in July. Gove never returned to the team or to coaching.
Gove was a native of Centerville, Massachusetts and was an alumnus of Western Michigan University. In addition to his time in the Penguins’ organization, he played a season with the Johnstown Chiefs in 2001-02. He played two career NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes, recording one assist.