Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks dead at 24 after Fourth of July accident

The aspiring young goaltender passed away Sunday night after a firework-related accident.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Matiss Kivlenieks had a promising hockey career ahead of him, having played in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and representing his native Latvia on the international stage numerous times.

The 24 year old's life was cut short this Fourth of July weekend in what has been deemed a tragic accident.

ESPN originally reported that Kivlenieks died as a result of "falling and hitting his head on concrete" in Novi, Michigan, however the Associated Press later revealed that "an autopsy has determined that [he] died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast."

"There appears to have been a fireworks malfunction," said Lt. Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department, "which caused a group of people to flee from the hot tub, including the deceased." According to the Associated Press, police have now said "the mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby."

The Blue Jackets made the announcement early Monday morning in a heartfelt tweet, urging people to keep Kivi and his family in their prayers.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman offered his condolences as well, remembering Kivlenieks' "love for life and passion for the game."

Kivlenieks made headlines earlier this year for his performance in the World Hockey Championship in Latvia where he shut out the Canadian team in the opener.

He will be missed by his family, friends, and teammates.


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