Blue Jackets goalie dies after fireworks accident

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Matiss Kivlenieks

FILE – Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (80) is shown during the second period of an NHL hockey game in New York, in this Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, file photo. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Latvian Hockey Federation said Monday, July 5, 2021, that 24-year-old goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has died. The team said in a statement Kivlenieks died from an apparent head injury in a fall after medical personnel arrived. It was not immediately clear what caused the fall or where he was at the time of the incident, and multiple messages were left with team and national federation personnel that were not immediately returned.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast in what authorities described as a tragic accident on the Fourth of July.

Police in Novi, Michigan, say the firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby.

The 24-year-old Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and tried to get clear with several other people. Authorities earlier said the Lativan had died of an apparent head injury during a fall, but an autopsy clarified the cause of death. Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson called it a “devastating time” for the team.

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