Fireworks Tragedy. Bizarre Accident Kills Young NHL Goalie.

THIS CORRECTS THAT KIVLENIEKS DIED OF CHEST TRAUMA FROM AN ERRANT FIREWORKS MORTAR BLAST AND NOT A SUBSEQUENT FALL AS AUTHORITIES PREVIOUSLY REPORTED - FILE - Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (80) is shown during the second period of an NHL hockey game in New York, in this Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, file photo. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Latvian Hockey Federation said Monday, July 5, 2021, that 24-year-old goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has died. A medical examiner in Michigan says an autopsy has determined that Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast, and not a fall as authorities previously reported. Police in Novi, Michigan, said the mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby Sunday night, July 4. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

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%. 

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please hover over that comment, click the ∨ icon, and mark it as spam. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.