Ice hockey player Adam Johnson has died after a “freak accident” during Nottingham Panthers’ Challenge Cup match with Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old American reportedly suffered a slashed neck during the second period of the game at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.
Nottingham Panthers said on Sunday morning: “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 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 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.
“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 Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
The Elite Ice Hockey League is heartbroken to confirm that Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson sadly passed away following a freak accident in Saturday’s game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers. pic.twitter.com/9MtTzvmojM
— Elite Ice Hockey League | #EIHL (@officialEIHL) October 29, 2023
“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.”
Sunday’s three Elite League games in Belfast, Fife and Guildford have been postponed following Johnson’s death, while Nottingham later confirmed via X, formerly Twitter, that Tuesday’s home contest against the Glasgow Clan had also been postponed.
The statement read: “The club will provide updates on our website and social media regarding future fixtures and all ticket information for postponed games as soon as it is possible to do so.
“We ask for everyone’s understanding and patience regarding this news and ask that fans refrain from emailing or contacting the club as our staff come to terms with today’s tragic news.”
Minnesota-born Johnson played for Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League before spending the 2020-21 season in Sweden with the Malmo Redhawks.
The Penguins said in a statement: “The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon.
“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.”
The National Hockey League family mourns the passing of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson. Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends and teammates. pic.twitter.com/992QZZG8Qp
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 29, 2023
The NHL also passed on its condolences.
A statement said: “The National Hockey League family mourns the passing of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson. Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends and teammates.”
Johnson went on to play in the American Hockey League for the Ontario Reign and in Germany for the Augsburger Panther before agreeing to join Nottingham for the 2023-24 campaign.
A statement from the Elite Ice Hockey League read: “The Elite Ice Hockey League is heartbroken to confirm that Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson sadly passed away following a freak accident in Saturday’s game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers,” read a league statement.
A joint statement from the @officialEIHL following the tragic events at the Arena last night.
Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson's partner, family & team mates.
— Sheffield Steelers | #BleedOrange (@steelershockey) October 29, 2023
“In light of this deeply upsetting news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled to take place on Sunday October 29, 2023.
“The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad and difficult time.”
Sheffield said in their own statement: “Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson’s partner, family & teammates.”