NHL goalie killed in July 4th crash

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A 24-year-old National Hockey League goaltender with the Columbus Blue Jackets was tragically killed in a fireworks accident during a rally on July 4.

There was some confusion in the initial report of the death of Matiss Kivlenieks, who died on an Independence Day Sunday near Novi, Mich., After being struck by a failed pyrotechnic.

As reported by CNN:

Earlier Monday, Meier said there appeared to be a malfunction sending the fireworks at people. Kivlenieks and others were in a hot tub and when they tried to get out, Kivlenieks slipped, fell and hit his head against the concrete, Meier said.

The idea was that the Latvian hockey star had died from a fall and subsequent head injury. But, an autopsy now indicates that Kivlenieks suffered internal injuries after being struck by “the firework mortar explosion and chest trauma,” according to the medical examiners report.

Columbus Blue Jackets Matiss Kivlenieks – via Getty Images
The team posted the following message on Twitter early Monday morning, sharing the tragic news of the young man’s death:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that goalkeeper Matiss Kivlenieks passed away last night at the age of 24.

We are heartbroken. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Rest in peace Kivi.

Kivlenieks started two games last season with the Blue Jackets and recently competed in the Ice Hockey World Championships for his native Latvia.

Tampa Bay Lighting and the Montreal Canadiens marked the sad death of Kivlenieks with a moment of silence before Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Monday night (pictured above)

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