The Columbus Blue Jackets have awoken to what can only be described as truly shocking and tragic news.
According to multiple reports now coming out of Latvia, it would appear as though 24 year old goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has passed away. This is a breaking news story and at the time of this writing the details surrounding his death are currently a mystery, however I suspect that given his young age and his relatively high profile there will be some kind of formal investigation into this matter very shortly.
Columbus Blue Jackets' insider Aaron Portzline was able to reach out to the Blue Jackets who have confirmed the reports coming out of Latvia which would indicate that this story is indeed very real.
It is nothing short of shocking to see such a young and promising player pass away and such a young age and no doubt this will be a huge tragedy for all hockey fans in Latvia who were very excited about the development of Kivlenieks. From the outside looking in there appeared to be no signs of any ill health from Kivlenieks and in fact he had just recently competed at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championship of Hockey where he represented his home country of Latvia in the tournament. In fact, although I was not aware of this, Mark Scheig is reporting that he was spotted at a racing event in Ohio just last week which would appear to indicate that he was just going about his normal life.
Update: The Blue Jackets have released more details in an official statement.
The statement provides more details on what exactly has gone on here and it would now appear as though there has been some kind of tragic accident. According to the statement, which you can read in full below, Kivlenieks suffered what is believed to be some type of head injury during a fall last night. The Blue Jackets report that medical personnel were called shortly to the scene of the incident but added that Kivlenieks succumbed to his injuries just a short while later.
A truly horrible and tragic story on Monday morning, and all our thoughts go out to the Kivlenieks family at this time.