Musketeers celebrate the life and legacy of late Muskie great Matiss Kivlenieks

Sports Spotlight

SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – No matter how much time passes, Matiss Kivlenieks is never far from the Sioux City Musketeers’ minds.

“He was constantly that fun-loving guy,” Musketeers head coach Luke Strand said.

“He was just someone that was a joy to be around and you could tell that he had a true love and passion for the game,” former Musketeers defensiveman Brady Ferner said.

Spending just one season in Sioux City, Kivlenieks left a lasting legacy with the Muskies. He became one of the best players in the USHL, while leading the team to the Clark Cup Final in 2017. But his life was cut short on July 4th following his death from a tragic accident, devastating current and former team members.

“Matiss… the young man he was and the young man he was becoming might have even superseded the player he was and he was an excellent player,” Strand said.

“He showed up every single day with a passion and a purpose, and you couldn’t ask for much more from a teammate, and he’s just really gonna be missed,” Ferner said.

Last Friday, before the team’s game against Tri-City, the Muskies held a ceremony celebrating the late goaltender, along with clips from Kivlenieks’ career and a touching thank-you from his family.

“Seeing the reaction from the bench and the reaction from coach and other people that knew him that definitely made it more emotional,” Musketeer goaltender Alex Tracy said.

“Looking back at coach I know he knew him and when I took the ceremonial puck drop with the Billup family it really hit my heart there,” Musketeer forward Kirklan Irey said.

And the tribute reached its peak when Matiss’ #35 rose to the rafters, followed by an unveiling of the first Muskie ever to have his number retired, immortalizing the Matiss name forever.

“It’s something special,” Irey said, “Coming into our 50th year too and not having any jerseys retired, and him being the first, just means something and how much he has left an impact on this community.”

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