Update: Kivlenieks died at former NHLer's home

T. Tadi
July 5, 2021  (6:41 PM)

Matiss Kivlenieks, 24, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, died Sunday evening after a catastrophic fireworks accident in Novi, a Detroit suburb, in case you missed the tragic news earlier today.

Kivlenieks died from "fireworks mortar, chest trauma" in a celebration gone horribly wrong, according to an autopsy. Kivlenieks was first thought to have suffered a head injury while fleeing the fireworks, but coroner records contradict this, stating that there was no evidence of head trauma or external injuries.
«There wasn't a lot of external damage," Novi Police Lt. Jason Meier reported. "He had massive internal damage, so we're working under the theory that it was the concussive blast of the firework.»
«We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time,» Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson said in the statement. «Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile, and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.»
According to police accounts, Kivlenieks was at a massive 4th of July event in Novi, Michigan, at the home of Blue Jackets goaltending coach and former NHL goaltender Manny Legace. At 10:15 p.m., police and emergency services were notified and arrived within five minutes, but they were unable to save Kivlenieks' life.
Kivlenieks and fellow Latvian and Blue Jackets goalkeeper Elvis Merzlikins were said to be at the party together. They were wonderful friends because they were so close in age and cultural background. I can't fathom how Merzlikins are feeling right now.
«‘Kivi' was the nicest person and always had a smile on his face,» Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson said earlier today. «He never, ever complained and would do anything for anybody. It was easy to root for a guy like ‘Kivi' and a privilege to be his teammate. He will be greatly and sorely missed, but never forgotten. My condolences to his mom, family and everyone who loved him.»
"The National Hockey League was saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks,» NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a prepared statement earlier today. «On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates in both the Blue Jackets organization and his native country of Latvia. His love for life and passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been fortunate to have him as a teammate and a friend.»
Credit: HockeyFeed
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