Adam Johnson, a 29-year-old hockey player for the Nottingham Panthers, died in a tragic freak accident on the ice rink while playing against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday in the UK.
Johnson, who played for the NHL's Pittsburg Penguins before transferring to the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in August, suffered a fatal neck injury when he collided with a player on the opposing team midway through the second period.
The BBC reports that the injury was reportedly caused by a skate blade to the neck.
Television broadcast footage showed Johnson, a Minnesota native, falling to the ground after colliding with a player from the opposing team. The opposing player kicked up his skate blade during the fall which reportedly slashed Johnson in the neck.
The ice rink turned red while Johnson's teammates put pressure on his neck and carried him off the ice. Johnson was transported to the hospital and was pronounced dead the next morning.
The Nottingham Panthers released a statement on the tragic accident: “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 forget him.”
“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,” the team added. “Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”
“Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today's news.”
More than 8,000 people were in attendance to witness the tragedy play out. Officials abruptly ended Saturday's game and the EIHL canceled all games on Sunday over Johnson's death.
Johnson played for the Pittsburg Penguins from 2018 to 2020 and later played for the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers minor league affiliates before signing overseas with the Nottingham Panthers in August.
The Pittsburg Penguins released a statement following the tragic news of its former player that said: “The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon. 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.”