Blue Jackets front desk staff confirmed on Wednesday that Matiss Kivlenieks died after an accident at the home of goalkeeping coach Manny Legace in Novi, Michigan on Sunday after celebrating the wedding of Legace’s daughter. Kivlenicos is 24 years old.
“At this point, we understand that this is a day and night to celebrate one of the most precious events, the wedding, where Sabrina, the daughter of our goalkeeper coach Manny Legaz, got married. It ended in a terrible accident. A A wonderful young man’s life,” said John Davidson, president of hockey operations, while reading a prepared statement.
“I ask you to continue to pray. They regard Kivi as a son and brother because they are upset, which is understandable. I also ask you to serve as (Columbus goalkeeper) Elvis Merzlikins (Elvis Merzlikins), his wife Alexandra (Aleksandra) did the same thing., who was there too. They were Kivi’s closest friends and they were with him that night. This is for them and all of us It is a devastating loss, and we will always be with us.”
Davidson also talked about whether he was worried about Legace and Merzlikins, both of whom had witnessed the accident.
Davidson said: “Several terrible things will happen in these things. Obviously, this is about Kiwi and his family, but this is about the big family we belong to, the Blue Jacket family.”
Coach Brad Larsen went to Michigan on Monday morning to be with his family. General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen added that from players to their families and staff, anyone who needs to talk to can find professionals.
“I see a lot of frustrated faces here. This kid is free, he makes people smile, he is just a great kid, so we will do our best to help anyone who needs it,” Davidson said.
Preliminary reports indicate that Kivlenieks slipped and hit the concrete while escaping from the hot tub due to a “firework malfunction” of the mortar fireworks. After an autopsy by a forensic doctor in Oakland County, Associated Press confirmed The cause of death was chest trauma caused by the explosion of a firework mortar. He suffered extensive damage to his heart and lungs.
Davidson and Kekalainen also talked about Kieflenix’s career and expectations of him becoming a full-time NHL goalkeeper. About four years ago, the pair and then assistant general manager Bill Zito (who was also the general manager of the AHL team) met Kivlenieks in Sioux City, Iowa, when he was playing for the USHL Musketeers.
“We want him to join the Blue Jackets organization. You can see the passion on his face, you can hear it in his voice. He has a dream, and he realized his dream. That was the first time I saw it. When he was,” Davidson said in his prepared statement.
“I think the last time I saw Kivi was at the other end of the Rangers. The Blue Jackets had a lot of injuries. Kivi had the opportunity to play and start the game at Madison Square Garden. (He) was fantastic,” Davidson said. Emotion overwhelmed him, and he paused. “We (lost) 2-1. We lost and I feel good about that kid.”
The Blue Jackets signed the “Kivi” known to their teammates as a free agent in May 2017. He made his NHL debut on January 19, 2020, stopping the ball in a 2-1 victory over the Rangers and making 31 of 32 shots. Madison Square Garden. In the eight NHL games of his career, he created a 2-2-2 record with an average of 3.09 goals and a save rate of 0.899.
He started twice this season-both against the Red Wings-with a save rate of 0.901 1-1-0. In 85 professional games against the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate Cleveland Monsters, his record was 33-35-9, the average number of goals was 3.31, the save success rate was 0.896, and he was eliminated 3 times.
Kieflenix played for Latvia in the 2021 FIBA World Championships in May, where he scored 2.18 goals (average 2.18 goals, 0.922 save success rate, and one stop in four games). 1-2 grades. That victory defeated eventual champion Canada 2-0. He stopped all 38 shots he saw.