Blue Jackets entrance workplace workers on Wednesday confirmed that Matiss Kivlenieks died following an accident Sunday at goaltending coach Manny Legace’s house in Novi, Mich., after celebrating the marriage of Legace’s daughter. Kivlenieks was 24 years previous.
“We understand at this point that it was a day and a night of celebrating one of the most cherished events, a wedding, and the daughter of our goaltending coach Manny Legace, Sabrina, was married. It ended in a horrific accident that took the life of a wonderful young man,” stated president of hockey operations John Davidson, studying from a ready assertion.
“I ask that you keep the Legace family, who considered Kivi a son and a brother, in your prayers, as they are understandably distraught. I would also ask that you do the same for (Columbus goalie) Elvis Merzlikins, his wife, Aleksandra, who was there too. They were Kivi’s closest friends, and they were with him that night. This is a devastating loss for them and for all of us, and one that will always be with us.”
Davidson additionally addressed whether or not there was concern for Legace and Merzlikins, each of whom witnessed the accident because it occurred.
“There’s always layers of just terribleness that happens with these things, and obviously, this is about Kivi and his family,” Davidson stated, “but it’s about the extended family that we belong to, the Blue Jackets family.”
Coach Brad Larsen traveled to Michigan on Monday morning and was with the households. Common supervisor Jarmo Kekalainen added that professionals can be found for anybody who wants to speak, from gamers to their households and the workers.
“I’ve seen a lot of down faces around here. This kid was available, he made people smile, he was just a great kid, so we’ll do what we can to help anybody that needs it,” Davidson stated.
Preliminary studies indicated Kivlenieks slipped and hit his head on concrete whereas fleeing a sizzling tub as a result of a “firework malfunction” from a mortar-style firework. Following an post-mortem by the Oakland County Medical Examiner, the AP confirmed the reason for loss of life was chest trauma brought on by a firework mortar blast. He suffered intensive injury to his coronary heart and lungs.
Davidson and Kekalainen additionally talked about Kivlenieks’ profession, and the expectations for him to be an NHL goaltender full time. The pair, together with then-assistant basic supervisor Invoice Zito (who was additionally GM of the AHL crew), met Kivlenieks about 4 years in the past in Sioux Metropolis, Iowa, when he performed for the Musketeers of the USHL.
“We wanted to have him come and be a part of the Blue Jackets organization. You could see the passion in his face, you could hear it in his voice. He had a dream and he lived his dream. That’s when I first met him,” Davidson stated in his ready assertion.
“I think the last time I saw Kivi I was on the other end of it with the Rangers. The Blue Jackets had a ton of injuries. Kivi had a chance to play goal, start the game at Madison Square Garden. (He) was fabulous,” Davidson stated, pausing as feelings overtook him. “We (lost) that 2-1. We lost, and I felt good for that kid.”
The Blue Jackets signed “Kivi,” as he was identified to teammates, as a free agent in Could 2017. He made his NHL debut on Jan. 19, 2020, stopping 31 of 32 pictures for a 2-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Sq. Backyard. In eight profession NHL video games, he compiled a 2-2-2 file with a 3.09 goals-against common and .899 save proportion.
He made two begins this season — each towards the Purple Wings — going 1-1-0 with a .901 save proportion. He posted a 33-35-9 mark, 3.31 goals-against common, .896 save proportion and three shutouts in 85 profession video games with the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters.
Kivlenieks in Could suited up for Latvia on the 2021 IIHF World Championships, the place he went 1-2 with a 2.18 goals-against common, .922 save proportion and one shutout in 4 video games. That one win was a 2-0 shutout over the eventual champions, Canada. He stopped all 38 pictures he noticed.