The Vernon Vipers are mourning former player Josh Ciocco, whose sudden death was announced Tuesday at the young age of 38.
"The Vernon Vipers are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of former Viper Josh Ciocco! We want to pass our condolences along to Josh's family and friends as well as @MC_Athletics, where he was an assistant coach," the local BCHL team tweeted.
Ciocco was entering his fifth season with the North Andover, Mass., Merrimack College.
The Merrimack community and men's hockey program "are deeply saddened" by the passing, the college posted on its website.
"Josh was ... tireless in recruiting talented and dedicated student-athletes to Merrimack, and equally passionate in his commitment to coaching them to reach their greatest potential," the college said.
Previously, Ciocco served as an assistant coach at Brown University, and at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
He earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 2007 from the University of New Hampshire, where he was a four-year member of the hockey program, captaining the Wildcats in his senior season.
He returned to UNH in 2010 to earn his MBA after competing for two seasons in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers and Fresno Falcons.
"Our prayers and deepest condolences are extended to Josh's parents, brothers and all members of the Merrimack men's hockey team and coaching staff," the college said.
In the BCHL, Ciocco played for the Vernon Vipers, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Cowichan Valley Capitals, and Prince George Spruce Kings, as a right winger.
The cause of his death was not disclosed.