Blue Jackets Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks Dies at 24 from Head Injury Suffered in a Fall

Edijs Palens/Xinhua via Getty Images Matiss Kivlenieks, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, died Sunday following an accident-caused head injury. He was 24 years old. John Davidson, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, stated that "we are shocked and saddened at the loss Matiss Kivlenieks." "Kivi was a remarkable young man who welcomed everyone and every day with a smile. His four years of service to our organization will be remembered." The club didn't provide any further information. Over two seasons, Kivlenieks participated in eight games with the Blue Jackets. At the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Paris, the Latvian player was in goal. He led his country to victory over Canada in the group stage and a defeat against Kazakhstan. He was unlikely to rise through the ranks, having worked his way up from the lowest levels of hockey in Latvia after he left Latvia. After a breakout season with the Sioux City Musketeers, an American Hockey League team during the 2016-17 season, he signed with the Blue Jackets. In January 2020, he made his NHL debut. Kivlenieks was most often with the Blue Jackets, playing for their AHL affiliate the Cleveland Monsters.

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