‘He had a bright future’: Blue Jackets remember goalie Matiss Kivlenieks


CLEVELAND (WJW)– A sign honored Matiss Kivlenieks outside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland on Wednesday.

The same day the Columbus Blue Jackets addressed the media to discuss the goalie’s tragic death.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we try to get our arms around this unspeakable tragedy that occurred Sunday night,” said Blue Jackets President John Davidson.

Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast on the Fourth of July in Novi, Michigan. The team initially reported his death was because of an apparent head injury suffered during a fall out of a hot tub.

On Wednesday, Davidson said Kivlenieks had traveled to Michigan to celebrate the Fourth of July with the team’s goaltending coach, Manny Legace, whose daughter got married over the weekend.

“We understand at this point there was a day and a night celebrating one of life’s most cherished events, a wedding,” Davidson said.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the organization has professional counselors available for players, coaches and staff.

“We felt he was a big part of our future. A full-time NHL’er. That is what we envisioned when we signed him as a free agent. He had a bright future,” Kekalainen said.

Since his death, fans throughout Ohio have been leaving hockey sticks outside their homes and arenas, like Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

The Cleveland Monsters, saying, “Hockey is family” in a tweet Wednesday, showed items left outside in Kivi’s memory.

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