Matiss Kivlenieks was the goaltender of the Columbus Blue Jackets National Hockey League. He died after an accident that involved fireworks at a Novi private party, Michigan. This led to a fall according to Lieutenant Jason Meier, Novi Police Department.
Meier stated that Novi Fire and Paramedics responded to an injury call at 10.13pm.
Meier said that there was a malfunction in the fireworks and the fireworks were sent towards people. Kivlenieks (24), was with others in a hot tub. When they tried to get out, Kivlenieks fell and hit his head on concrete.
Meier stated that Kivlenieks was taken to Ascension Providence Hospital Novi, where he was declared dead.
Meier stated that although it is still under investigation, they are treating the incident as a tragic accident.
According to Investigator Jeff Collins, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office currently performs an autopsy on Kivlenieks. They expect to know the cause of death by this afternoon.
John Davidson, President of Hockey Operations for the Blue Jackets, stated that he was shocked and saddened at Matiss Kivlenieks’ passing. He also expressed his deepest sympathy to Astrida, his parents, and his friends during this difficult time. Kivi was a remarkable young man, who welcomed everyone with a smile every day. His four years of service to our organization will be remembered for the positive impact he made on all those around him.
Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, offered condolences to the league.
Bettman released a statement saying that the National Hockey League was shocked to hear about the sudden and tragic death of Matiss Kivlenieks,
“On behalf the NHL family we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and teammates in the Blue Jackets organization as well as his native Latvia. All those who were fortunate enough to have him as a friend and teammate will miss his passion for the game and love of life.
In 2017, Kivlenieks was a free agent and signed with Columbus. He was 2-2-2 in eight games and had a 3.09 goal against average.
The goaltender was a member of the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate in Cleveland, the Cleveland Monsters. He had a 33-35-9 overall record, a 3.31 GAA, and three shutouts over 85 games.
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Kivlenieks represented Latvia in several international tournaments. He was a part of the 2021 IIHF World Championships which saw him go 1-2 with a 2.18 GAA and one shutout.