Adam Johnson: Manslaughter arrest over ice hockey player’s death

A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter over the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson, whose neck was cut during a match.

The Nottingham Panthers player was hit in the neck by a skate during a match against the Sheffield Steelers on 28 October.

The 29-year-old was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury, South Yorkshire Police said.

The force said detectives arrested the suspect on Tuesday, adding that he remained in custody.

Hundreds gathered to pay tribute to Johnson in Nottingham earlier this month

Det Ch Supt Becs Horsfall, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “We have been carrying out extensive inquiries to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.

“We have been speaking to highly specialised 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.

“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world.”

She urged members of the public to refrain from “comment and speculation which could hinder” the investigation.

The death of Johnson, who was from Minnesota in the US, sparked an outpouring of grief across the world.

Talking to KSTP-TV, a local news station based in Minnesota, the player’s aunt Kari Johnson said her nephew was planning to propose to his partner, Ryan Wolfe.

“We were all really excited because we were really looking forward to their future and he didn’t get a chance to ask her, and then this happened,” she said.

Johnson previously played in North America’s National Hockey League (NHL), featuring 13 times for Pittsburgh Penguins.

He made the move to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2020-21 season, before spells with the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Johnson played for Augsburger Panther in Germany before switching to the Nottingham Panthers in August. Fans recently attended Nottingham Panthers’ Motorpoint Arena home in memory of Johnson

Johnson’s inquest was opened and adjourned earlier this month.

In a prevention of future deaths report, coroner Tanyka Rawden called for compulsory use of neck guards in ice hockey.

The sport’s top division in the UK – the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) – announced it would not enforce the use of neck guards but would “strongly encourage” players and officials to wear them.

The English Ice Hockey Association – which oversees all levels of ice hockey in England below the Elite League – previously said neck guards would be mandatory from 2024 onwards.

The incident has been described as a “freak accident” by the Panthers.


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