Today, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the NHL, hockey fans and the country of Latvia paid tribute to goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, who had passed away 11 days earlier in a tragic fireworks accident.
Kivlenieks’ mother, Astrida, his stepfather, sister and uncle traveled to Columbus for the ceremony, Several Blue Jackets players and coaches, teammates from Cleveland front office staffs from both the Blue Jackets and Monsters came to the memorial service, as did friends and teammates from Minnesota where Kivlenieks began his career in North America with the Minnesota Junior Hockey League back in 2014.
FELLOW LATVIAN GOALIE ELVIS MERZLIKINS OF THE CBJ SAYS THIS OF MATISS KIVLENIEKS:
* “DIED A HERO”
* “HE SAVED ELVIS, ELVIS’ WIFE AND UNBORN SON”
* “KIVI’S FAMILY WILL BE HIS FAMILY FROM NOW ON”
* “HE WAS NOT MY FRIEND, HE WAS MY LITTLE BROTHER”
* “HIS SON IS GOING TO HAVE THE MIDDLE NAME MATISS”