During Fourth Of July weekend, tragedy struck the Columbus Blue Jackets and the entire NHL when it was announced that 24-year-old goalie Matiss Kivlenieks had passed away after an incident involving an errant firework.
Jackets’ Matiss Kivlenieks Dies in Fireworks Accident https://t.co/KcIvVYRJ65
— SideAction (@SideActionHQ) July 6, 2021
During his memorial service on Thursday, teammate Elvis Merzlikins (who was with Matiss Kivlenieks on the night of his passing) spoke on how the young goaltender died a hero.
“He saved not just many lives, but when it happened, I was standing 20, 30 feet back of him and I was hugging my wife,” Merzlikins said at Kivlenieks’ memorial service Thursday in Arlington, Ohio via ESPN. “He saved my son, he saved my wife, and he saved me.”
Elvis Merzlikins’ wife is close to giving birth to a baby boy, who the couple agreed will be named Matiss is his teammates’ honor.
Merzlikins also claimed that he was not the only one who believes that Matiss Kivlenieks died a hero.
“That’s not just what I said. That’s what the doctor said. … And as Sabrina said, he saved his last puck.”
“Just to tell you about the last day,” Merzlikins said. “There were 60, 70, 80 people. I never looked for him. I was talking to so many people. Always, he came to me, he looked for me. We had our last beer, our last shot, last cigar. He was always smiling. I think he made me stronger as a man.”
Matiss Kivlenieks will always be a hero. RIP
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