The hockey community is mourning the tragic loss of a 24-year-old star after an apparent fireworks malfunction led to his death during an incident at a home in Michigan on Sunday.
Matiss Kivlenieks, a goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets, was pronounced dead after suffering what is being termed as a “fatal head injury” following a “fireworks malfunction” that occurred in the small town of Novi, Michigan during a local July 4th celebration.
Kivlenieks, who was originally born and raised in Riga, Latvia, was at a private residence in Novi when police were called after 10 p.m. local time to the scene of the accident.
Jason Meier, a Novi police lieutenant and spokesperson, told the media (below):
“Novi Fire and Paramedics were dispatched at 10:13 p.m. to a private residence in the city of Novi. They found a subject unresponsive and immediately transferred him to Ascension Hospital in Novi where he was pronounced dead. The Novi Police Department is investigating and an autopsy is scheduled for today but all signs are that this was a tragic accident. Initial investigation is that there was a fireworks malfunction and that the deceased fell while escaping a hot tub.”
According to the Associated Press, it is now thought that Kivlenieks was first hit in the chest with a “fireworks mortar blast” that severely injured him prior to his apparent head injury which occurred after the hot tub fall.
John Davidson, the President of Hockey Operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets, also released a statement about the star goalie’s death:
“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time. Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.”
The Blue Jackets initially signed Kivlenieks back in 2017.
And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shared a statement mourning Matiss, too:
“The National Hockey League was saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates in both the Blue Jackets organization and his native country of Latvia. His love for life and passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been fortunate to have him as a teammate and a friend.”
So, so sad.
Our hearts go out to Matiss’ friends, family, teammates, and other loved ones.
[Image via Bally Sports Ohio/YouTube]