COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Fans came together Monday night to remember Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks and honor his life.
A memorial outside Nationwide Arena started off as a couple of signs, balloons, and flowers, and quickly grew as word of Kivlenieks’ sudden death spread.
Kivlenieks died Sunday night due to chest trauma sustained in an errant fireworks mortar blast.
The memorial now consists of hockey sticks and pucks as well as notes for Kivlenieks.
“It really hits home when it happens to your team and your community,” said fan Sarah Kent.
Kent helped start the memorial and bring fans together Monday. Ted Rosenberry made the trip from Dayton to be with his Fifth Line family on this difficult day.
“When I heard the news, it was just devastating,” Rosenberry said. “I tried to think of something to say or to shared and there are no words. It’s just, it’s a sad day.”
Many people who added to the memorial then went to R-Bar, a popular gathering spot for Blue Jackets fans.
One of the fans said that the Fifth Line lost a family member and that’s why they all wanted to gather, holding an 80-second moment of silence in honor of Kivlenieks’ jersey number.
“When I heard the news, it was just devastating,” said fan Ted Rosenberry. “I tried to think of something to say or to share and there are no words. It’s just, it’s a sad day.”
“You try not to follow it too closely, but you couldn’t stop following it because it felt so surreal, so shocking, and I think I’ve spent all day with this on my brain and I just can’t get it off of my head,” said fan Jeremy Paul.
R-Bar wasn’t supposed to be open Monday, but when a fan tweeted that they wanted others to gather there. The owner said once he heard about what was going on, it was an easy decision to open to be there for the fans.
“We wanted to be here for our other Fifth Line members and 24-years old, it’s too young, too young, and it’s really tragic,” said fan Laura Norman.
“We cheer together, we take losses together, but we also grieve together,” Rosenberry said. “I just wrote, ‘We love you, forever a Blue Jacket.”
Fans also pointed out that the last game of the season at Nationwide for the Blue Jackets was a win. In goal that night was Matiss Kivlenieks.