English police have arrested a man reportedly connected to the death of Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) player Adam Johnson last month.
During an Oct. 28 game, Adam Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers was involved in an on-ice collision which resulted in a laceration to the neck after Sheffield Steelers’ Matt Petgrave’s ice skate struck Johnson’s neck.
Johnson, who previously played with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League (NHL), was escorted from the ice and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
On Tuesday, a man was arrested by South Yorkshire Police in connection to Johnson’s death on suspicion of manslaughter, though the English police did not reveal the suspect’s identity.
“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 Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in a statement. “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.”
BREAKING: British police have arrested Matt Petgrave & charged him with manslaughter
He killed NHL player Adam Johnson on live TV with his skate. He received a standing ovation at a game last night.
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) November 14, 2023
“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world,” Horsfall continued. “We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process. Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.”
Video of the incident shared on social media 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
English authorities began investigating Johnson’s death shortly after the incident.
“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,” wrote the EIHL team in an X post after Johnson’s death. “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 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
“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 EIHL, among other professional hockey leagues, has announced mandatory neck guards for all players during on-ice activities set to take place by the end of the year.
Petgrave received a standing ovation during the Sheffield Steelers’ first game following the fatal incident with Johnson.