The hockey world is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks, who tragically lost his life in a fireworks accident at the suburban Detroit home of goaltending coach Manny Legace during a 4th of July party. Goaltender Elvis Merzļikins was also attending the party with his wife Aleksandra, who was pregnant with their son.
Kivlenieks was struck in the chest by an errant firework mortar blast and succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital, with the cause of death being listed as chest trauma which triggered major damage to his heart and lungs.
And according to Merzļikins, Kivlenieks' actions saved their lives.
“He wasn’t my friend. He was my little brother,” Merzļikins said at a private memorial service on July 15. “He saved my son, he saved my wife and he saved me. … He died as a hero.”
Merzļikins then promised that his soon to be born son would be named in honor of his fallen teammate, and he followed through with that pledge as he and his wife introduced the world to Knox Matiss Merzlikins:
And it already looks like the proud father is bringing up his newborn son in the family business:
Congratulations to the Merzļikins family!