Matiss Kivlenieks, an NHL goalkeeper, dies at 24 from apparent head trauma

(CNN) – Matiss Kivlenieks, goalkeeper for the National Hockey League (NHL) Columbus Blue Jackets, died Sunday night after a fireworks accident at a private party in Novi, Michigan, which caused a fall, according to the department lieutenant. Novi Police Officer Jason Meier.

Novi firefighters and paramedics were dispatched for an injury call at 10:13 p.m., Meier said.

According to Meier, it appears that there was a malfunction of the fireworks that caused the fireworks to be directed towards people.

Kivlenieks, 24, and others were in a hot tub, and when they tried to get out of it, Kivlenieks slipped, fell and hit his head on the concrete, Meier added.

Kivlenieks was transported to Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi and pronounced dead, Meier said.

“It is still an active investigation, but we are treating it as a tragic accident,” Meier said.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office is currently conducting an autopsy on Kivlenieks and expects to have a cause of death this afternoon, according to investigator Jeff Collins.


Kivlenieks appears playing for the Cleveland Monsters in December 2019.

Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson said: “We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and extend our deepest condolences to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time. Kivi was an exceptional young man who greeted everyone with a smile every day and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten. “

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shared his condolences on behalf of the league.

“The National Hockey League was saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of goalkeeper Matiss Kivlenieks,” Bettman said in a statement.

“On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and teammates both in the Blue Jackets organization and in his native Latvia. His love of life and his passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been lucky enough to have him as a teammate and friend. “

Kivlenieks signed with Columbus as a free agent in 2017. In eight career games with the team, he was 2-2-2 with an average of 3.09 goals against.

From 2017 to date, the goalkeeper played for the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, where he had a 33-35-9 record with an average goals against of 3.31 and three. undefeated goals in 85 career games.

Kivlenieks represented Latvia in several international tournaments, including the 2021 IIHF World Championships this spring, where in four matches he went 1-2 with a GAA of 2.18 and an undefeated goal.

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