The hockey community received the news of the death of Latvian goalkeeper Matisse Kivlenieks on Sunday, July 4, with great sadness. His circumstances at Thursday’s funeral revealed other circumstances of his tragic death.
On the fateful day of the Independence Day celebrations, the 24-year-old goalkeeper was hit in the chest by fireworks. Despite the immediate intervention of paramedics, however, Kivlenieks succumbed to his injuries after a while.
His funeral took place on Thursday in the suburbs of Columbus and was broadcast live. In front of the young goalkeeper’s sister, sister and other relatives, his teammate and great friend Elvis Merzlikins spoke touchingly.
At the time of the deadly blow of Kivlenieks, Merzlikins was hugging him a few meters behind him with his pregnant wife.
“He saved my unborn son, saved my wife and saved me. He saved a lot of lives, “Merzlikins was quoted as saying by nhl.com.
“If it wasn’t for me, my wife or my son, it would be another fifty people. He died a hero. And I’m not saying that, that’s what the doctor said. If he just sat there, it wouldn’t happen, “the Columbus goalkeeper continued in a shaky voice.
Merzlikins continued to talk about his last memories of his compatriot. “We had our last beer. The last shot, more than one. The last cigar. Matiss was not my friend, he was my younger brother, “added Merzlikins, whose son will be given a middle name after Kivlenieks.
Goalkeeper coach Manny Legace, who has been Kivlenieks’s support since his arrival in the organization in 2017, also took the floor at the funeral. The Latvian goalkeeper even lived with him over the summer.
“He became a member of my family. He was my daughter’s brother and a great friend of our nephew. I want to thank his mother and father for raising him in this world, “said Legace.
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