Matiss Kivlenieks, Columbus Blue Jackets, watches the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets & the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio on May 8.
Authorities said that a hockey player for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets was killed Sunday night when he was apparently hit in the chest with fireworks.
Matiss Kivlenieks was a Latvian 24-year-old goaltender who was sitting in a hot bathtub at a Novi private home when a nearby firework tilted toward him and several others, BuzzFeed News reported Lt. Jason Meier from the Novi Police Department.
According to the first reports, Kivlenieks fell and sustained a head injury as he tried to escape the explosion. Meier confirmed that Kivlenieks was actually struck in the chest by explosive during an autopsy Monday. Meier stated that authorities initially investigated the theory of a head injury because many eyewitnesses had reported seeing Kivlenieks tumble from the hot tub and hit the ground.
The emergency services arrived at the scene shortly after 10:10 p.m. Kivlenieks was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead. Meier stated that the police are continuing to investigate the incident and deem it a "tragic accident".
Monday's statement by the Blue Jackets confirmed Kivlenieks's death and called it "a tragic accident." Although the team claimed that Kivlenieks died from a head injury sustained in a fall, the statement was made before the autopsy results became public.
John Davidson, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations said that he was shocked and saddened at the loss Matiss Kivlenieks. He also expressed his deepest sympathy to Astrida, Astrida's mother, and his friends during this difficult time. "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.
Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, also released a statement stating that Kivlenieks would be "deeply regretted."