Matiss Kivlenieks, a goalie with the Columbus Blue Jackets, died on Sunday after being struck with fireworks at a non-public occasion in Novi, Mich., the authorities stated. He was 24.
The police initially thought that Mr. Kivlenieks, who began two video games for the National Hockey League staff this season, had died from a fall whereas attempting to flee the fireworks, however an post-mortem discovered he had died of chest trauma because of a fireworks mortar, in accordance with Lt. Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department.
One of the mortar components tipped towards a sizzling tub, the place a number of individuals have been sitting. They tried to get out of the new tub, however Mr. Kivlenieks was hit. No one else was injured, in accordance with Lieutenant Meier. He stated that there was no indication that the fireworks have been unlawful, however he gave no additional particulars. He stated the episode was being investigated as an accident.
Emergency employees who have been known as to the residence in Novi, a metropolis about 30 miles northwest of Detroit, arrived simply after 10:17 p.m. on Sunday. The police stated they instantly transported an unresponsive Mr. Kivlenieks to Ascension Providence Hospital, the place he was pronounced lifeless.
“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,” John Davidson, the president of hockey operations with the Blue Jackets, said in a statement on Monday, referring to the player by his nickname.
“That was a brutal wake up this morning,” David Savard, a former teammate, told NHL.com. “That was a good kid with a lot of talent who was going to be a part of the team next year or in the future. That’s extremely sad.”
Mr. Kivlenieks was considered a possible No. 2 goaltender for the Blue Jackets next season.
Born on Aug. 26, 1996, in Riga, Latvia, he signed with the Blue Jackets in 2017, making his N.H.L. debut in January 2020. He played in eight N.H.L. games. Mr. Kivlenieks represented Latvia in the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in June.
The Latvian Hockey Federation said in a statement on Monday that Kivlenieks’s “departure is a great loss not only for Latvian hockey, but for the entire Latvian nation.”
Mr. Kivlenieks is survived by his mother, Astrida.