Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, 24, dies in fireworks-related accident

Matiss Kivlenieks, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, died Monday after he fell and hit his head on concrete during a July Fourth fireworks-related incident, Novi police said Monday. Kivlenieks was 24. Lt. Jason Meier, from the Novi Police Department, stated that EMTs and the fire department arrived at a private residence at 10:13 on Sunday. Meier said that there appeared to be a fireworks problem, which caused people to flee the hot tub. He also mentioned that the deceased fell and struck his head on concrete. Meier said that a mortar-style mortar firework tilted slightly and caused a fire. After receiving a 911 call, it took responders 4 minutes and 38 seconds to arrive. Kivlenieks was transported to a local hospital where he was declared dead. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. Meier stated that the investigation is currently focused on a "slip-and-fall" accident. Kivlenieks played in two Blue Jackets games this season. He also had previously represented Latvia at the IIHF World Championships. He was expected to play in more games next season, having played in eight NHL games. Blue Jackets president John Davidson released a statement saying that he was shocked and saddened about the loss Matiss Kivlenieks. He also extended his deepest condolences to Astrida, Astrida's mother, and his friends. "Kivi was a remarkable young man who welcomed everyone every day with a smile. His four years of service to our organization will be remembered. "One thing that I loved and appreciated about his was his smile and ability to keep a positive attitude," ex-Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno shared with ESPN's Emily Kaplan via text message. It's cliché, but this is exactly what he was. He was living his dream as a 24-year old and enjoying it. It is hard to believe that he never took one day for granted. We are praying for his family, and all those who knew him. It was a difficult day for many people at that organization. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, issued a statement regarding the death and disappearance of Kivlenieks. Bettman stated in the statement that "On behalf the NHL family we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends as well as his teammates in both the Blue Jackets organisation and his native Latvia." All those who were fortunate enough to have him as a friend and teammate will miss his passion for life and love of the game. Jarmo Kekalainen, Blue Jackets general manger, shared his condolences via Twitter. Life is precious, but it can also be fragile. Today, hug your loved ones. Matiss, we will miss you. Jarmo Kekalainen, @jkekalainen, July 5, 2021 Kivlenieks was undrafted and signed as a free agent with Columbus in 2017. On Jan. 19, 2020, he made his NHL debut at Madison Square Garden. He stopped 31 of 32 shots to defeat the New York Rangers by a score of 2-1. Kivlenieks and Elvis Merzlikins, a Columbus goaltender, made an appearance last week at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to take part in a ride-along. Kivlenieks spent the summer in America.

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