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Young hockey star Matiss Kivlenieks tragically passed away after a Fourth of July firework accident. Just how are the Blue Jackets organization honoring him?

Matiss Kivlenieks: See how the Blue Jackets are honoring this hockey player

The NHL world mourns the tragic loss of Matiss Kivlenieks today, who sadly passed away yesterday at the young age of twenty-four. Even sadder are the circumstances in which this Blue Jackets star died, having passed thanks to another careless accident that involved fireworks, a traditional yet dangerous practice which always faces backlash during the Fourth of July season. 

Mattis Kivlenieks leaves behind an unfulfilled hockey legacy that was filled with promise, and it absolutely sucks that something like this had to happen to such a young person. Let’s dive into the details behind this tragic accident and see how the Blue Jackets’ hockey organization responded. 

The tragedy 

While authorities had previously reported that Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks had originally passed away due to blunt-force trauma after falling from a hot tub and banging his head on hard cement, a Michigan medical examiner debunked this cause of death, and officially proclaimed that Matiss Kivlenieks died from chest trauma due to an errant fireworks mortar blast. 

Witnesses claim that this firework malfunctioned and tilted slightly off-center while  Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks was in the hot tub with a group of friends. Once the firework began launching towards them, they tried to scramble out of the hot tub as quickly as they could to avoid the impact of this rocket. After the firework hit  Matiss Kivlenieks, paramedics were on the scene four minutes after the call was made. 

Sadly, Matiss Kivlenieks was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local Michigan hospital, and while the circumstances of his death were up in the air until this morning, it sadly does not take away from the fact that this young Blue Jackets star lost his life way too early. 

Blue Jackets 

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 and many more to follow. He was certainly on his way to a great career until this tragedy struck. 

“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.”

“One thing I loved and appreciated about him was he had a great smile and always was in a good mood,” former Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan in a text message. 

“I know it’s cliché, but that’s exactly the kind of guy he was. Just enjoying his life as a 24-year-old living out his dream and you could tell he didn’t take one day for granted, which makes this tragedy even more hard to bear. Praying for his family and all of us who knew him. Hard day for a lot of people in that organization.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman issued a statement on the tragic death of hockey star Matiss Kivlenieks: 

“On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates in both the Blue Jackets organization and his native country of Latvia. His love for life and passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been fortunate to have him as a teammate and a friend.”

What do you make of this tragic accident? Are you a big hickey fan, and, if so, who’s your favorite team to root for? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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