Fallen Blue Jackets goalie remembered as friend, hero

Jul 15, 2021, 2:51 AM | Updated: 3:26 pm

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks was hailed as a friend and hero during a memorial service held Thursday for the player who died on the Fourth of July from an errant fireworks mortar blast.

Authorities have said the firework at a private home northwest of Detroit tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby. Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and was trying to move out of the way of the firework when he was struck.

He suffered chest trauma and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Fellow Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins, a close friend of the 24-year-old Kivlenieks, told the mourners at the Schoedinger Funeral Home in Upper Arlington that his teammate saved him and his pregnant wife the night he was killed.

Merzlikins said he and his wife were roughly 20 to 30 feet behind Kivlenieks when he was struck, telling the crowd: “He saved not just many lives … He saved my (unborn) son, he saved my wife, and he saved me.”

To honor his fallen friend, Merzlikins said his son’s middle name will be Matiss.

Police in Novi, Michigan, have not requested charges in Kivlenieks’ death, saying it still is considered accidental. However, they have asked the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office to review the matter, citing the “high-profile nature” of the death.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Emily Fox of the U.S., center, leads a string of teammates against New Zealand during their women's...
Associated Press

US forward Alex Morgan supports transgender kids in sports

Forward Alex Morgan says the U.S. national team should have internal discussions about whether to play exhibition games in states that restrict transgender kids from participating in sports. The team is currently preparing for the SheBelieves Cup, a round-robin tournament with Canada, Brazil and Japan that starts next week. Matches are scheduled in Florida and […]
16 hours ago
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football ...
Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions

PHOENIX (AP) — From diversity to concussions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league is still looking for improvement. As for officiating, he says: “it’s never been better.” Goodell addressed those topics and more, including the Washington Commanders’ investigation, flex scheduling and international play in his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday. DeMeco Ryans became […]
16 hours ago
CORRECT ID TO MICHAEL SKUBALA , NOT SIMON HOOPER  - Leeds United's interim head coach Michael Skuba...
Associated Press

Man United stages fightback to draw 2-2 with Leeds in EPL

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Leeds in the Premier League on Wednesday. Substitute Jadon Sancho rescued a point for Erik ten Hag’s team, which missed the chance to move level on points with second-place Manchester City. Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday. It is […]
16 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones speaks to the media during the NFL football Super B...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Jones sets sack standard for Kansas City defense

PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Jones claims to have very little memory of a relatively benign game in 2017, when the Kansas City Chiefs welcomed the Philadelphia Eagles to Arrowhead Stadium for the second game of the regular season. Jason Kelce remembers it quite well. The veteran Philadelphia center spent the afternoon lining up alongside Isaac […]
2 days ago
Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin speaks after being introduced as the winner of the Alan Page Community ...
Associated Press

Hamlin appears during Super Bowl event to receive award

PHOENIX (AP) — Damar Hamlin made a brief appearance in Phoenix during Super Bowl week to receive the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. The Buffalo Bills safety received the award at the Phoenix Convention Center on Wednesday, a little over a month after he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers a question during an NFL football Super Bowl...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Mahomes says ankle will be ready for Super Bowl

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes says he’s “definitely in a better spot” when it comes to his ailing right ankle than he was for the AFC championship game, and the All-Pro quarterback doesn’t expect to be limited by it when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. […]
2 days ago
Fallen Blue Jackets goalie remembered as friend, hero