A young NHL goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets was celebrating the Fourth of July in suburban Detroit when he was killed in a tragic and bizarre accident that had something to do with a fireworks display.
24-year old Latvia native Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma, after a mortar-style firework tilted and started to fire tower people. He was sitting in a hot tub with others when the mortar fire got near the group. Originally the team said the Kivlenieks slipped and hit his head on concrete, with his death resulting from a head injury from the fall. Monday, results of an autopsy showed it was chest trauma that caused his death.
EMT’s and the fire department responded quickly, but he was pronounced dead when he arrived at a local hospital.
The Blue Jackets released a statement Monday which said in part: “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. 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.”
He had been with the Columbus franchise for the past four years, and played in eight games with the NHL club, winning two games and compiling a save average of almost 90%.