The sudden and tragic passing of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks stunned the hockey community and was the cause of a long period of mourning for many, even those that had not know Kivlenieks personally.
Although their grief is genuine, the reality is that no one was more affected by this tragedy than those that were closest to Kivlenieks. His family back in Latvia would be first and foremost among that group and his friends back home would make that list as well, but there were those who were very close to the young netminder on this side of the ocean as well.
Perhaps chief among those is former National Hockey League goaltender Manny Legace, a man that had grown very close to the young Kivlenieks over time. Not only did Legace have a professional relationship with Kivlenieks as the goaltending coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he also welcomed the young Latvian into his home as a part of his family.
This week Legace was asked about the tragedy that befell Kivlenieks during the 4th of July weekend and it was abundantly clear that the former goaltender has still not fully processed his grief. Legace struggled to find the words to express his sorrow at the loss of Kivlenieks, a man that he said had become like a son to him over their years of living together.
Legace also touched on a number of other topics during his on air interview, including the serious bout of Covid-19 that he personally experienced. Legace described in detail how he had gradually become more and more ill over a number of days, so much so that he would eventually be hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Michigan. The former professional athlete had previously admitted that he was genuinely afraid at times, and his openness about what he suffered through makes it easy to see why.
As he will openly admit in this interview, Legace had developed blood clots in his lungs leaving him even more vulnerable. It is unclear whether they came as a result of Covid or whether or not they were already there, but needless to say Legace is thankful he made it through the ordeal.
You can watch the interview with Manny Legace below:
Photo Credit: Billy Hurst-USA Today Sports