American hockey player Adam Johnson has died in a "freak accident" after his neck was cut by a skate blade during a game in England on Saturday. He was 29.
According to a report by Associated Press, Johnson sustained the skate cut in the second period of the Elite Ice Hockey League game at Sheffield's Utilita Arena while he was representing the Nottingham Panthers in a Challenge Cup matchup against the Sheffield Steelers. His throat was slashed by rival player Matt Petgrave's skate.
In a Twitter post, his team, The Nottingham Panthers said that they were devastated about the tragic news and would like to send their thoughts and condolences to Johnson's family.
“The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night,” the statement read.
“The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time. Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing," they added.
The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night. pic.twitter.com/lhSOkDu03Q— The Nottingham Panthers (@PanthersIHC) October 29, 2023
His team also commemorated how Johnson was an outstanding ice hockey player and teammate.
"Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him. The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him," they said.
At that time, the Challenge Cup game was “stopped” for a “bad injury” and players returned to the locker rooms. Fans were later asked to leave the building “due to a major medical emergency," according to the tweet by Panthers.
The team didn't share details about what happened to Johnson. It said, “The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.”
Meanwhile, according to Yahoo Sports, the South Yorkshire Police, in a statement, said they were called to the arena immediately and began an investigation that continues.
“Our officers remain[ed] at the scene carrying out inquiries [Sunday] and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remains ongoing,” the police stated.
Following this, the English Ice Hockey Association has announced a new rule, saying it is requiring athletes to wear a neck guard/protector and that it is going to do a thorough review of safety equipment.
“The EIHA makes a ‘strong recommendation’ that all players at all levels across English ice hockey use an approved ice hockey neck guard/protector whilst participating in all on-ice activities," the statement read.
“This ‘strong recommendation’ is in place until 31 December 2023, after which it will become a mandatory requirement. It is not mandatory with immediate effect due to anticipated supply issues. This will be under constant review between now and mandatory implementation. All protective equipment must be worn without alterations and as directed by the manufacturer’s specification,” it added.
Johnson was an American professional ice hockey forward. He played 13 games in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2018 to 2020. He also played in Europe with the Malmö Redhawks, Augsburger Panther, and Nottingham Panthers.
Rest in Peace, Adam Johnson.