Craig Butz and his 4-year-old daughter, Teagan, went on a Jet Ski ride this past Saturday in Clearwater, Florida.

However, their Jet Ski collided with a 34-foot center console boat, and Butz died after he reached the hospital, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Teagan is still in critical condition and is fighting for her life at the Bayfront Health St. Petersburg Hospital.


Butz’s first career was as a professional hockey player, as he spent time in the Western Hockey League and Major Junior Hockey League. While he was later drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, he never got to play in an NHL game.

The 52-year-old was most recently an executive director of Pepin Academies, charter schools for students with learning disabilities.

President of Pepin Distributing Co. Tom Pepin said in a statement:

“The Pepin family is devastated by this tragic accident. […] Under his inspired leadership, Pepin Academies has grown to better the lives of students with learning-related disabilities. Craig was a wonderful and infectious educator, whose passion for his staff and students was evident every day. He inspired countless students to realize their full potential and achieve their goals, both in and outside of the classroom.”

Jeff Skowronek, chairman of the Pepin Academies Hillsborough Campuses, added:

“His wisdom and intelligence was matched by his passion and exuberance for the staff and students of our schools. He was a leader, a champion, and a friend. The pain of his loss, both professionally and personally, will be felt for an eternity.”

Both men relayed that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the Butz family.

The community is devastated by the loss of this great man:






Pepin added:

“Craig was not only a respected and dedicated educator, but also a great father and friend.”

Butz is survived by his wife Tatum Murphy, an adult son, and Teagan.

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