Friendly Fireworks Disaster: NHL Goalie Killed in July 4th Catastrophe
A 24-year-old Nation Hockey League goalie with the Columbus Blue Jackets was tragically killed in an apparent fireworks accident at a Fourth of July gathering.
There was some confusion in the original reporting of the death of Matiss Kivlenieks, who died Sunday at an Independence Day party near Novi, Michigan after he was struck by a misfiring pyrotechnic.
As reported by CNN:
Earlier on Monday, Meier had said there seemed to be a malfunction that sent the fireworks in the direction of people. Kivlenieks and others were in a hot tub and when they tried to get out, Kivlenieks slipped, fell, and hit his head on the concrete, Meier had said.
The thought was that the Latvian hockey standout had died from the fall and subsequent head injury. But, an autopsy now says Kivlenieks suffered internal injuries from being struck by the errant 'fireworks mortar blast and chest trauma', according to the medical examiners report.
The team posted the following message on Twitter early Monday morning, sharing the tragic news of the young man's death:
It’s with a very heavy heart that we share the news that goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks passed away last night at the age of 24.We are heartbroken. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.Rest in peace, Kivi.
Kivlenieks started two games this past season for the Blue Jackets and also recently played in the Ice Hockey World Championships for his native Latvia.
The Tampa Bay Lighting and Montreal Canadians marked Kivlenieks' sad death with a moment of silence prior to Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night (photo above)
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