The NHL and hockey communities were shocked to learn Monday that Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks died following an accident involving a “fireworks mortar explosion” and “chest trauma.” allegedly related to the 4th of July celebrations.
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan offered more information on the shocking passing of Kivlenieks on Tuesday.
According to Kaplan, Kivlenieks was at Columbus goalkeeping coach Manny Legace’s home in Novi, Michigan, to celebrate Legace’s daughter’s wedding and the holiday weekend when the fireworks accident occurred Sunday. Kivlenieks tried to avoid the fireworks while inside a hot tub, but suffered fatal injuries to his heart and lungs.
Lt. Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department said ESPN authorities are currently calling the incident a “tragic accident.”
Kivlenieks, who was scheduled to turn just 25 next month, appeared in eight games for Columbus the past two seasons and posted an average of 3.09 goals and a 0.899 save percentage. In May, Steven ellis The Hockey News speculated that Kivlenieks could have earned the lead backup role with the Blue Jackets by next fall.