Elvis Merzlikins pays tribute to his former friend and teammate Matiss Kivlenieks, who tragically died earlier this summer, with his new mask, unveiled by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
We see the number 80 worn by the Latvian guard, decorated with wings, as well as the phrase “You saved the last puck, little brother” (in French: “You stopped the last puck, my little brother”).
Kivlenieks died from an injury in an incident involving fireworks as part of the July 4 celebrations in the United States. He was only 24 years old.
Last month, Quebec Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois announced that he will trade his number 13 for the 80 in honor of his ex-teammate.
Never drafted, Kivlenieks took part in two games last season and eight in total in the National League. He was 2-2-2, a 3.09 goals against average and an. 899 save rate.
Most recently, he competed in the Ice Hockey World Championship under Bob Hartley. He played in four games, claiming an average of 2.18 and a rate of .922. He helped his team to finish sixth in Group B with a 2-3-2 record.