Former NHL player Adam Johnson died after being injured during his English team's game on Saturday. He was 29.
The Nottingham Panthers called the incident a "freak accident," noting that everyone at the club — including players, staff and ownership — was heartbroken at the news of his passing.
The incident happened during a collision in the Panthers game against the Sheffield Steelers at Utilita Arena in England. During that collision, Johnson's throat was cut by an opposing player's skate.
Johnson received emergency treatment on the ice, and players were sent to the locker room once he was transported to Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, according to ESPN. About 8,000 attendees were asked to leave the building because of what the Panthers said was a "major medical emergency."
On Sunday, the Panthers announced Johnson's death in a statement.
"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," the team said.
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
Johnson appeared in 13 games for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins between 2018 and 2020. He also played for several AHL affiliates. The Penguins expressed their "deepest condolences" over the loss of Johnson.
"Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family. It was our honor to watch him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League," the team said in a statement.
Johnson's girlfriend Ryan Wolfe also spoke out on Instagram on Monday.
"My sweet sweet angel. I'll miss you forever and love you always," Wolfe wrote on her Instagram Stories, where she shared tribute posts. Some outlets report the pair got engaged over the summer and lived together in England.
The player whose blade slashed Johnson's neck has received hateful messages online.
South Yorkshire Police are investigating the incident and asked the public to "avoid speculation" while they carry out their investigation.
"Our officers remain at the scene carrying out enquiries and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing," South Yorkshire Police said in a statement.
The Elite Ice Hockey League announced that all of Sunday's games were suspended. The Panthers' Tuesday home game was also postponed.
On Monday, the English Ice Hockey Association announced it is "strongly recommending" all players use an approved ice hockey neck guard while playing, effective immediately. The association said it's planning a thorough review of all aspects of player safety equipment within the next year.
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