Publish date:

NHL goalie killed by fireworks played junior hockey in Minnesota

The young goaltender played junior hockey in Minnesota as a teenager.
Author:

Shockwaves from the death of NHL goalie Matiss Kivlenieks have been felt all the way in Minnesota, where the 24-year-old played junior hockey less than a decade ago. 

Kivlenieks died in a fireworks accident on the Fourth of July, with police saying the Columbus Blue Jackets goalie was struck in the chest by a fireworks mortar.

Kivlenieks was once committed to play college hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato, but prior to that he was a star goalie playing junior hockey for the team now known as the Minnesota Mullets. 

"Heaven gained an Angel last night and a #1 goaltender. Our hearts, prayers and wishes go out to the family of Forever Laker, Matiss Kivlenieks," the Minnesota Mullets said on social media. 

Kivlenieks played for the program for two seasons – 2013-14 and 2014-15 – when they were the Lakers of Edina and Forest Lake, respectively. He was 16 years old at the time and playing hockey in North America for the first time after growing up in Latvia. 

The 2014-15 Forest Lake Lakers reached the Tier III Minnesota Junior Hockey League playoff semifinals, with Kivlenieks posting a 2.23 goals-against average and an impressive .930 save percentage. 

According to police, the mortar-style firework tilted and fired in the direction of people Sunday night. Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and tried to avoid the blast but was hit by the mortar.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

A medical examiner ruled that Kivlenieks died from a percussive injury that caused major damage to his heart and lungs, police said. 

"There was some minor injury to his exterior, which would lead us to believe that some portion of the firework made contact with him, but we're not really sure if it was a direct hit or whether the percussion from the explosion caused his injuries," the chief of the Novi Police Department said, according to The Detroit News.

Next Up

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is effective in kids ages 5-11

The company plans to seek U.S. authorization for the age group soon.

storm, wall cloud, severe wather

Damaging winds, tornadoes again possible in Twin Cities Monday

Storms are expected to intensify during the early afternoon hours.

ambulance

3 people stabbed in suspected domestic incident in Crystal

A man who was injured has been detained in the incident.

police lights

Man surrenders after 12-hour standoff at Eagan home

There was a SWAT response early Sunday morning.

Greg Joseph

Vikings radio call thought kick in Arizona was good

From jubilation to devastation in a moment.

pixabay-pain-pills

St. Paul police report 7 suspected overdoses in 24 hours

The department reported that two of the suspected overdoses were fatal.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings miss game-winning field goal, fall to 0-2

Greg Joseph's chip shot attempt as time expired spoiled a late comeback.

Related

hockey

Former NHL stars playing in charity game in Shakopee

The game will raise money for the Parkinson's Foundation Minnesota Chapter.

10 Minnesota high school stars taken in the NHL Draft

A lot of them played juniors in the USHL last season.

hospital, emergency room

Firework explodes in man's hand in central Minnesota

The 31-year-old was airlifted to a hospital in the Twin Cities.

Matt Cullen

Minnesota hockey great Matt Cullen retires from NHL

He retired with a video message and lengthy column called "A Hockey Life."

National Women's Hockey League adds expansion team in Minnesota

The Minnesota Whitecaps will begin play right away.

Mayo Clinic urges ban of body-checking in hockey until age 15

It also recommends ejecting players who fight in juniors and the NHL.