911 calls released in connection to death of Jackets’ Kivlenieks

This is tough to read through…


The tragedy took place on Sunday night when Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast at a Michigan home. 

On Tuesday, three 911 calls were released in connection with the accidental death, and it is just very hard to read through. When the incident took place, the 24-year-old goalie was in a hot tub and tried to get clear with several other people. This is what was said in the calls to get immediate help to Kivlenieks, per Sportsnet. 

A woman told a 911 dispatcher that he “getting ready to go into convulsions” after he was struck in the chest by an errant Fourth of July fireworks mortar blast. 

Another female caller said: “Hey, we have someone who was hit by a fireworks. Can you come here immediately? He’s breathing. We have a nurse here. He’s breathing, but he’s not doing very good.”

As the calls were released, we were able to find out that Kivlenieks was struck about 10 p.m. Sunday at a home in Novi, near Detroit, but was pronounced dead at a hospital.

A large crowd had gathered at the home of Blue Jackets goaltending coach and former NHL goaltender Manny Legace, where Kivlenieks was staying and training for the summer. “The fireworks had not been going on for very long” when Kivlenieks was struck, Lt. Jason Meier said Tuesday.

It is hard to read these details as it sounds like Kivlenieks was alive at the house after he was struck, but couldn’t make it in time to the hospital. People attending the Fourth of July party attempted their best to save him, however, this unfortunate accident became a true tragedy… 

Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen tweeted: “Life is so precious and can be so fragile. Hug your loved ones today. RIP Matiss, you will be dearly missed.” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson called it a “devastating time” for the team.

“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,” he said.

Kivlenieks’ passing has been hard on the team, especially on Blue Jackets goaltender and fellow Latvian Elvis Merzlikins, who was reportedly at the party with Kivi. Being so close in age and cultural background the two were great friends. Merzlikins shared a heartbreaking, but heartfelt message on Instagram.