SWINDON Wildcats will be without import Matias Perkkio for an indefinite period following the death of the player's father, Markku.

The 25-year-old forward has returned home to Finland to be with his family and the exact date of his return is unknown.

Perkkio has scored 15 goals and laid on 27 assists in 28 EPL matches this season.

Swindon head coach Ryan Aldridge said: “It is a very sad time for Matias and his family and it is understandable that he needed to return home as soon as possible.

“We’ll see how the next few weeks pan out and he can return to the squad in due course.

“Hockey is only a game and it’s times like these that things are put into perspective.

"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with him and the rest of his friends and family.

"We ask that the media respect Matias and his family’s privacy at this difficult time."

Markku, who died aged 51, was himself an ice hockey player and spent much of his playing career at Karpat in the Finnish leagues.

A prolific goalscorer who represented his country at under 18 level, he totalled 15 years in senior hockey before retiring at the end of the 1981/82 season.