Today was all about the celebration of the life of Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, who died tragically in a fireworks accident in Novi, Michigan earlier this month.
The likeable and always smiling Kivlenieks, who signed with the Blue Jackets as an undrafted free agent in 2017, started in two games for Columbus in 2021 but was expected to have a larger role for the 2022 season. He had such an upswing in talent that GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a recent zoom press conference that ” he was definitely going to be a huge part of the team’s future”. He appeared in the hockey world championship for Latvia earlier this year and posted a shutout over heavily favored Canada. “The only Latvian goalie to beat Canada” as stated by Legace.
The 48-year-old Legace, who retired in 2012, also said: “I got to play golf with him every day in the summer. Got to hang out with him, play cards. He got to become one of my family.”