Former National Hockey League (NHL) player Adam Johnson died after sustaining an injury during a game in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) on Saturday.
Johnson previously played with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2018 and 2020 and joined the EIHL’s Nottingham Panthers in 2023.
During Saturday’s EIHL game, Johnson was involved in an on-ice collision during Saturday’s game which resulted in a laceration to the neck after Sheffield Steelers’ Matt Petgrave’s ice skate struck the Nottingham Panthers player’s neck.
Johnson was escorted from the ice and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Nottingham Panthers released a statement early Sunday.
“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 team wrote to X. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
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
“The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances,” the statement concluded. “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. We ask that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, and everyone at the club is respected at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with our grief. Rest in peace Adam.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins also released a statement on the former player’s passing.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the team wrote. “We offer our deepest condolences to Adam’s family and friends, as well as all of Adam’s past and present teammates and coaches. 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.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 29, 2023
Video of the incident was shared on social media which appears to show Petgrave lifting his leg into Johnson’s neck during the collision.
While many reports are referring to the incident as a “freak accident,” some critics have suggested Petgrave’s move was intentional. One X user referred to Petgrave’s move as a “kung-fu kick,” while another suggested the Sheffield Steelers player should be behind bars.
Zoomed in and slowed down. Matt Petgrave should be behind bars. Not a hockey play. pic.twitter.com/0kUYg8xIG9
— Mcdabber (@Mcdabber612) October 29, 2023
Authorities are reportedly investigating the incident.