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October 21, 2021
NHL goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks dead at 24 from apparent head injury

NHL goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks dead at 24 from apparent head injury

Novi Fire and Paramedics were dispatched for an injury call at 10:13pm, Meier said.

According to Meier, there seemed to be a fireworks malfunction that sent the fireworks in the direction of people. Kivlenieks, 24, and others were in a hot tub, and when they tried to leave the hot tub, Kivlenieks slipped, fell, and hit his head on the concrete, Meier added.

Kivlenieks was transported to Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi and pronounced dead, Meier said.

“It’s still an active investigation, but we’re treating it as a tragic accident,” Meier said.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office is currently performing an autopsy on Kivlenieks and expects to have the cause of death later this afternoon, according to Investigator Jeff Collins.

Kivlenieks is seen playing for the Cleveland Monsters in December 2019.

Blue Jackets’ President of Hockey Operations John Davidson said: “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. 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.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shared his condolences on behalf of the league.

“The National Hockey League was saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks,” Bettman said in a statement.

“On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates in both the Blue Jackets organization and his native country of Latvia. His love for life and passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been fortunate to have him as a teammate and a friend.”

Kivlenieks signed with Columbus as a free agent in 2017. In eight career games with the team, he went 2-2-2 with a 3.09 goal-against average.

From 2017-21, the goaltender played for the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, where he had a 33-35-9 record with a 3.31 GAA and three shutouts in 85 career games.

Kivlenieks represented Latvia at several international tournaments, including the 2021 IIHF World Championships this spring where in four games he went 1-2 with a 2.18 GAA and one shutout.