Hockey Player Who Died Saving Teammate And His Pregnant Wife Is Hailed A Hero

hockey player who died

Matiss Kivlenieks, a hockey player who died when fireworks turned deadly, ended up saving others that night. And his teammate, Elvis Merzlikins, hailed Matiss a hero after his sacrifice saved Elvis’ pregnant wife and unborn child!

During a 4th of July gathering at a coach’s house, things went horribly wrong. A fireworks display meant to dazzle the guest misfired. And sadly, the tragic accident cost an NHL player his life.

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24-year-old Matiss Kivlenieks, the hockey player who died, was a goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets. When the firework misfired, it was headed straight for the hot tub where Matiss and a few other guests were gathered.

The mortar-style firework struck Matiss in the chest, causing a “percussive injury to his internal organs” that later killed him.

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Matiss’ teammate, Elvis Merzlikins, stood nearby, as did Elvis’ pregnant wife. And in Matiss’ final moments, Elvis says his brave teammate saved the rest of them, shielding them from the rogue firework.

WATCH: Fireworks Accident Results In Tragic Death Of Hockey Player

Hockey Player Who Died Saved Others

The death of Matiss Kivlenieks is truly tragic. But during his memorial service, fellow Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins hailed Matiss as a hero. He says that his sacrifice is the reason Elvis and his pregnant wife escaped the fireworks accident unscathed.

“When it happened, I was standing 20-30 feet back of him and I was hugging my wife,” Elvis said. “I was hugging my wife. He saved my son, he saved my wife, and he saved me.”

This tragedy is a reminder of the danger of fireworks, especially in settings like a private residence. But it’s also a reminder of the close kinship between teammates, with Elvis calling Matiss more than a friend, but a “little brother.” And the sacrifice by the hockey player who died won’t ever be forgotten by those who were there.

“He died as a hero. That’s not me saying it, that was the doctor saying it,” Elvis explained. “I just wanted you to know that he was a hero. He saved a lot of lives. And I’m pretty sure he did it with a smile.”

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“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

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h/t: FOX News

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