Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks saved teammates wifes life: He died as a hero

More On:

columbus blue jackets

Prosecutor to review death of 24-year-old NHL goalie

Blue Jackets explain initial confusion around death of young goalie

NHL goalie was conscious after ‘fireworks misfire,’ 911 calls show

Grim new details revealed in freak fireworks death of 24-year-old NHL goalie

Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks died from an errant fireworks mortar blast on July 4 – and it appears he saved at least one more life in the process.

Elvis Merzlikins, Kivlenieks’ teammate prior to his passing, spoke at his memorial service Thursday in Upper Arlington, Ohio, detailing Kivlenieks’ heroism.

“He saved not just many lives, but when it happened, I was standing 20 to 30 feet back of him and I was hugging my wife,” Merzlikins said. “He saved my son. He saved my wife. And he saved me.”

Merzlikins and the 24-year-old Kivlenieks – who grew up about 40 minutes away from each other and are the fourth and fifth goaltenders from Latvia to ever play in the NHL – were good friends. And to honor his friend, Merzlikins is naming his son after Kivlenieks.

“I’m going to have a lot of experiences in my life now, I’m having a little baby coming up,” Merzlikins said. “My son’s second name is going to be Matiss.”

Merzlikins’ wife, Aleksandra, is in her third trimester. The couple welcomed Kivlenieks – Merzikins’ “little brother” – into their home, as they lived together in Ohio prior to Kivlenieks’ death.

Thursday’s emotional eulogy was another sad reminder of a life lost too soon.

“If that wasn’t me, or my wife or son, that would be 50 other people. He died as a hero, and that’s not me saying, that was the doctors saying [it],” Merzlikins said. “As [Legace’s daughter] Sabrina said, ‘he saved his last puck.’ I just want to let you know that he was a hero, and he saved a lot of lives. And I’m pretty sure he did that with a smile, because it’s true.”

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article