Kivlenieks, who died tragically in a fireworks accident this summer at the age of 24, played alongside Dubois for two seasons in Columbus. While with the Blue Jackets, Kivlenieks wore No. 80.
Dubois previously wore No. 18 with Columbus, and had switched to No. 13 after being traded to Winnipeg.
Pierre-Luc Dubois will wear No. 80 this season to honour his former teammate, Matiss Kivlenieks, who passed away on July 4. pic.twitter.com/oGHFiy1PWS
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 4, 2021
In July, a memorial service was held for Kivlenieks, attended by Blue Jackets coaches and players, as well as Kivlenieks’ parents and relatives from Latvia.
During the memorial, Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins said he and his pregnant wife, Aleksandra, were hugging near Kivlenieks when he was hit in the chest with a stray mortar while they were in Novi, Michigan for the July 4 holiday weekend to celebrate the wedding of goaltending coach Manny Legace’s daughter, Sabrina.
“He saved my [unborn] son. He saved my wife and he saved me,” Merzlikins said. “He saved many lives. … If that wouldn’t have been me, my wife or son, it would’ve been 50 other people. He died a hero. And that’s not me saying it. That was the doctor saying it. If he would just sit, it wouldn’t have happened. … I just wanted to let you know that he was a hero. He saved a lot of lives.
“Matiss wasn’t my friend. He was my little brother.”
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