NHL

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Kivlenieks dies aged 24

By Sports Desk July 05, 2021

Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has passed away at the age of 24.

A statement on the Jackets' official website on Monday confirmed that the Latvian died after suffering a head injury in a fall on July 4.

According to reports, local emergency services were called to a residence in Novi, Michigan around 22:00 local time.

Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department told ESPN: "There appears to have been a fireworks malfunction, which caused a group of people to flee from the hot tub, including the deceased, who slipped and hit his head on the concrete."

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."

Kivlenieks had played eight games since signing for Columbus as a free agent in May 2017, but was expected to challenge for more game time in the coming season.

He had also represented his native Latvia, including as they hosted the 2021 edition of the IIHF World Championships.

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