On Monday, talented hockey goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, who later caught Canada’s world champions at this year’s championship in Riga, passed away suddenly. An autopsy showed he was fatally injured by fireworks.
The Latvian Hockey Federation and Columbus management have reported the death of the 24-year-old, according to which Kivlenieks injured his head in an unfortunate fall. Even the rescuers summoned did not save his life. As the autopsy showed, the cause of death was different.
Police say Kivlenieks celebrated Independence Day Sunday in Novi, Michigan. The hockey player was in the hot tub with friends when the fireworks failed and they all ran away. According to initial reports, Kivlenieks fell and hit his head against the concrete. “At this point, we have no doubts that this was an unfortunate accident,” Police Officer Jason Meier told AP.
However, according to the AP agency, the ordered autopsy revealed that Kivlenieks had been hit by fireworks in the chest and caused fatal injuries. Rescued paramedics took the goalkeeper to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Life is so precious and can be so fragile. Embrace your loved ones today. RIP Matissi, I will miss you dearly,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen wrote on Twitter.
Kivlenieks has been in inferior foreign competitions since he was sixteen, but over the past two seasons he has already received eight chances in the Columbus Blue Jackets first team.
He has been nominated twice to the Latvian team for the World Championships, but he only succeeded this year. In four matches, he has maintained an average of 2.18 goals per game and a 92.2% success rate. In Latvia’s victory over Canada in the base group, he had a shutout.
“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matisse Kivlenieks, and at this devastating time we express our deepest condolences to his mother, Astrida, and to his family and friends,” said Columbus President John Davidson. “Kiwi was an excellent young man who greeted everyone every day and with a smile. We will never forget his four years at our club,” he added.
“Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie.”