Novi police: Probe of goalie’s death turned over to Oakland County prosecutor

Detroit News

Novi – Police said Monday they have completed their investigation into the July 4 death of Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks and turned in their findings to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Kivlenieks, 24, died from chest trauma after being accidentally struck in the left side of his chest by a firework shot out of a mortar at a backyard holiday party at the home of former Red Wings goalie Manny Legace, police said.

“We completed our investigation and turned in a report to the prosecutor for review on Friday,” said Novi Police Lt. Jason Meier. “It was investigated as an accident and we did not request any charges.”

Meier also said there was no violation of any related city ordinances or laws in the incident.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said Monday the case had not been reviewed.

Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and was trying to move out of the way of the firework when he was struck. He suffered major damage to his heart and lungs, according to Oakland County medical examiner Ljubisa Dragovic, who believed Kivlenieks died within seconds of being struck by the shell.

Kivlenieks was visiting Legace, who is the Blue Jackets’ goalie coach.

Kivlenieks most recently represented Latvia this spring at the world hockey championship in which he played four games. This past season, he played two games for the Blue Jackets and eight for the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters.

A native of Riga, Latvia, Kivlenieks signed with the Blue Jackets as a free agent in May 2017 and played eight games for the club overall.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

The Associated Press contributed.

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