Adam Johnson, a Nottingham Panthers forward, died after getting a major gash to his neck from a skate during Saturday’s Challenge Cup encounter. The game against the Sheffield Steelers was called off in the 35th minute while the 29-year-old American got medical care on the ice from paramedics.
The Panthers said they were “devastated” Johnson died in a “freak accident” on Sunday. “The club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him,” he told the BBC.
“Adam, our number 47, was not only a great ice hockey player, but also a great teammate and a wonderful person with his entire life ahead of him.” “At this extremely difficult time, the Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all of his friends.”
“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam Johnson’s passing.”
On Sunday, players paid a visit to Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena to lay flowers and speak with some of the hundreds of fans who had arrived to pay their respects.
The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) announced that Sunday’s games across the UK have been cancelled “in light of this deeply upsetting news.”
“The thoughts of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad and difficult time,” the EIHL said in a statement.
The Panthers were scheduled to play the Manchester Storm on Sunday, and the club has confirmed that their home game against the Glasgow Clan on Tuesday has been cancelled as well.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, teammates formed a ring around Johnson before protective screens were up and the players returned to their locker rooms.
He was later transferred to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Shortly after the event, the Panthers tweeted that the 8,000 spectators in attendance had been “asked to leave the building due to a major medical emergency.”
“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 team added in a statement.
“The Panthers would like to thank everyone who came out last night to support Adam in the most trying of circumstances.”
“We respectfully request that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, as well as everyone at the club, be respected during this difficult time as we all try to come to terms with our grief.”
Adam Johnson previously played 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in North America’s National Hockey League (NHL).
He joined the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2020-21 season after stints in the American Hockey League with the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Johnson was a member of the Augsburger Panthers in Germany before joining the Nottingham Panthers in August. The Steelers are leading the honours to Johnson.
Sheffield stated in a statement, “Everyone at the Steelers sends their condolences to Adam Johnson’s partner, family, and team-mates.”
Sheffield Wednesday held a minute’s silence before their Championship match against Rotherham United at Hillsborough on Sunday.
“Our hearts go out to Adam’s family, friends, teammates, and everyone affected by the events of last night.” “RIP,” Wednesday said on X, formerly Twitter.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnson’s former team, stated, “Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family.” It was an honour for us to witness him realise his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”
In a statement, the NHL said: “Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends and team-mates.”
Another of Johnson’s former teams, Augsburger Panther, said on social media that they would have a moment of silence before their game against Dusseldorfer EG on Tuesday.
Nottingham North MP Alex Norris called Johnson’s death “devastating news” for the city.
“I know the thoughts of our city are with Adam Johnson’s family, friends, team-mates, everyone at the club, fans, and in the wider ice hockey family,” Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood added.