Columbus Blue Jackets goalie dies after fireworks incident in Novi

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jul 05, 2021

(WXYZ) — Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died Sunday in Novi after an accidental fireworks incident, officials say.

According to Novi police, they were called to a home around 10:15 p.m. Sunday.

Police say Kivlenieks, 24, was in a hot tub when there was a fireworks incident.

An autopsy performed on Kivlenieks’ body found he died from chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast, according to the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office. Officials say the firework hitting him led to the man’s death, not the slip and fall.

“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.”

The Columbus Dispatch reports Kivlenieks was at the home of Columbus goaltender coach and former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace.

Kivlenieks signed with Columbus in 2017 and made his NHL debut in 2020. He went 2-2-2 in eight career game with the club.

He represented Latvia in the 2021 IIFH World Championships and also played 85 games with the Columbus AHL-affiliate Cleveland Monsters.

Editor's note: Novi police originally said his cause of death was a "percussive injury."