The Columbus Blue Jackets say goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has died of injuries from an errant fireworks mortar blast in Michigan.
Original reports indicated Kivlenieks died after hitting his head on the concrete as he and others scrambled to escape the fireworks at a private home in Novi, Michigan Sunday night. The 24-year old Latvian native started in two games for the Blue Jackets this past season and had recently played for Latvia at the IIHF World Championships.
Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainin shared his condolences on Twitter. In a statement released Monday Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson also mourned the loss.
"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."
Kivlenieks, who was undrafted, singed with Columbus as a free agent in 2017. he made his NHL debut in January, 2020, in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.