Michigan prosecutors reviewing firework-related death of Blue Jackets' Matiss Kivlenieks, police say

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Prosecutors in Michigan are reviewing the death of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks, who died July Fourth from an apparent firework accident. 

Novi Police Lt. Jason Meier said Monday that the investigation, which has been completed, will be reviewed by prosecutors because of the “high-profile nature” of the incident, adding that no criminal charges have been requested in the case.

“Due to the high-profile nature, we wanted an extra set of eyes (on the case),” Meier said. 

Kivlenieks, 24, died of chest trauma earlier this month after being struck by a mortar-style firework blast. Police initially said Kivlenieks died after hitting his head on the concrete while getting out of a hot tub to avoid fireworks that were headed in his direction.

An autopsy report the following day later revealed Kivlenieks was struck in the left side of his chest by an explosive shell while trying to escape from the hot tub and later died from his injuries, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

According to the report, the accident took place at around 10 p.m. at the home of Blue Jackets goalie coach Manny Legace, who was celebrating his daughter’s wedding. 

Kivlenieks was signed by the Blue Jackets as a free agent in May 2017. He played eight games overall for the club, including two games this past season. He most recently represented Latvia this spring at the world hockey championship in which he played four games.

Meier previously stated that Kivlenieks was staying with Legace for the summer to train. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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