Blue Jackets: Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, 24, dies in accident

UNDATED (AP) — A medical examiner in Michigan says Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks¬† died of chest trauma due to a fireworks mortar blast, and not a subsequent fall as authorities previously reported.

Police in Novi, Michigan, tell The Associated Press a mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby. Police say Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and fled with several other people. Kivlenieks was pronounced dead after first responders reached the scene. He was 24.

The Blue Jackets called it a “tragic accident.” Their statement made no mention of fireworks.

Kivlenieks was a candidate to be the Columbus Blue Jackets’ future goaltender. He represented Latvia at this spring’s hockey world championship and had played two games for the Blue Jackets and eight for the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters this past season.

Kivlenieks spent time with the Coulee Region Chill before playing in the NHL.