Blue Jackets Announce Plans To Honor Matiss Kivlenieks

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 6, 2021 at 3:26 pm
May 7, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (80) defends the net against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Matiss Kivlenieks may have passed away, but his memory will live on.

The young Latvian netminder tragically lost his life this summer after a fireworks incident, but he will be remembered by all those who knew him and all those who cheered for him.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Jackets announced their plans to honor Kivlenieks this season.

Before the Blue Jackets' season opener vs. Arizona on October 14th, members of Kivlenieks' family, including his mother, stepfather, sister, and aunt will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. Additionally, a banner featuring the number "80" will be unveiled and hang in the Nationwide Arena rafters for the entirety of the 2021-22 NHL season. Number "80" will also be visible behind both nets for Arizona and Seattle (Saturday, 10/16), and all Blue Jackets players will have an "80" sticker on their helmets this season.

The Matiss Kivlenieks Memorial Fund, which supports youth hockey initiatives in Columbus and Latvia, was established after his passing by the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. Per the club, over $100,000 has been raised as of today. On Opening Night, all CBJ Foundation fundraising activities will benefit the fund. This includes the 50/50 Raffle and auction and merchandise sales including official warm-up pucks and special "Kivi" hats and t-shirts.

For more information on the Matiss Kivlenieks Memorial Fund, click here.