"The Latvian goaltender suffered a head injury in a fall on Sunday, the Blue Jackets said in a news release. He was also struck in the chest by a fireworks blast, medical examiners later said. “Medical personnel were called immediately, but he succumbed a short time later,” the team said."
Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks dies at 24 from apparent head injury after fall in fireworks accident
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died Sunday night in a "tragic accident" after suffering an apparent head injury in a fall. He was 24. Police said he was involved in a Fourth of July fireworks accident.
Police in Novi, Michigan, said a mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby Sunday night. Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and tried to get clear with several other people, but the young Latvian slipped and hit his head on concrete, police Lt. Jason Meier said.
The fire department and EMTs got to the private home shortly after 10 p.m. and took him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Meier said. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
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 a 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."
Kivlenieks joined the Blue Jackets organization in May 2017 after he signed as a free agent. In his eight career games with Columbus, he went 2-2-2 with a 3.09 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.
Kivlenieks also played for the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters. While there, he went 33-35-9, with a 3.31 GAA and .896 SV% in 85 career games. He had three shutuots.