Hockey Player’s Death After On-Ice Incident Leads To Manslaughter Indictment In UK – Update

UPDATED, 3:20 PM: Police in England have arrested a man in connection with the death of hockey player Adam Johnson, who was gravely injured during a game in Sheffield last month. Authorities did not identify the person who was charged with manslaughter but said he remained in custody Tuesday.

The arrest by South Yorkshire Police comes two weeks after Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers was injured during an October 28 Champions Cup game against the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League. He collided with Steelers defenseman Matt Pergrave, whose leg came up and slashed Johnson’s throat. Johnson died later that night at a hospital. He was 29.

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Police said a postmortem exam showed that Johnson, who played seven games with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins over two seasons from 2018-20, died from a neck injury.

“Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive inquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances,” South Yorkshire Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said. “We have been speaking to highly specialized experts in their field to assist in our inquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.”

Johnson’s death has led several pro and amateur hockey leagues to consider or implement the use of protective neck gear on the ice. Cut-resistant protective equipment was among the topics of discussion at the NHL General Managers meetings Tuesday in Toronto.

PREVIOUSLY, October 29: An ice hockey player has died following a freak accident during a match on Saturday, during which he is believed to have taken a blade to his throat.

American professional Adam Johnson, 29, who played for the Nottingham Panthers team in the UK suffered the horrific injury during a match against the Sheffield Steelers at Utilita Arena Sheffield on Saturday evening.

Witnesses reported that Johnson appeared to have been struck in the neck by an ice hockey blade of another player. The Daily Mail quotes one witness reporting that Johnson initially tried to skate back to his team after the clash but collapsed on the ice, where he was cared for by medics and other plays. Screens were erected, and 8,000 fans asked to leave the area as his treatment continued.

Nottingham Panthers have confirmed the news of the player’s death, saying they were devastated to lose such a talented player:

“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 Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.

“Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great team-mate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him.

“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”

Johnson’s mother shared her sadness on social media, saying: “I lost half my heart today.”

The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) confirmed Sunday’s matches across the UK have been postponed “in light of this deeply upsetting news.”

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