Columbus Blue Jackets Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, 24, Dies After Being Struck by Errant Fireworks

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. Kathy Willens / AP, File

A medical examiner in Michigan says an autopsy has determined that Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast, and not a fall, as authorities previously reported.

Police in Novi, Michigan, said the mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby Sunday night. The 24-year-old Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and tried to get clear with several other people, police Lt. Jason Meier said.

Meier said that the fire department and EMTs arrived at a private home at 10:13 p.m. local time on Sunday.

Responders took 4 minutes and 38 seconds to arrive after receiving a 911 call. Kivlenieks was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office reported preliminary autopsy results Monday afternoon.

Prior to the autopsy, police said Kivlenieks was believed to have slipped and hit his head on concrete while running from a malfunctioning firework.

“At the moment, we’re pretty certain this was a tragic accident,” Meier said.

Kivlenieks started in two games for the Blue Jackets this past season and had recently played for Latvia at the IIHF World Championships. He played in eight total games in his NHL career and was expected to compete for more playing time next season.

“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,” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement. “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.”

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SOURCE: ESPN

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