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Video: Fmr. NHL player dies after opponent’s skate blade slashes his neck

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)
October 31, 2023

American hockey player Adam Johnson, who previously played with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins, died over the weekend during a hockey game in the United Kingdom.

Johnson, age 29, most recently played for the Nottingham Panthers, which competes in the Elite Ice Hockey League. During a Saturday night game against the Sheffield Steelers at Utilita Arena Sheffield, Johnson’s neck was severely cut by opponent Matt Petgrave’s skate blade, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson was quickly transported to a hospital after the skate blade of one of the Sheffield Steelers sliced his throat; however, he later passed away from his wound.


According to Business Insider, many of the 8,000 fans at Saturday’s game were traumatized by the graphic injury. One fan tweeted that the incident was “undoubtedly the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen.”

During Sunday’s game, the Panthers tweeted that the game had been “stopped” due to a “bad injury.” Shortly after the first tweet, the Panthers tweeted that fans were being asked to leave the building “due to a major medical emergency.”

On Sunday, the Panthers released a statement informing the public that Johnson “tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night.”

“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 Panthers wrote. “Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”

“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 team added. “The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.”

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While the Panthers did not provide the details concerning Johnson’s gruesome neck injury, the team expressed its gratitude for those who helped support Adam during the “most testing of circumstances.”

According to NBC News, Johnson previously played multiple games as a forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2018 and 2020. Following Saturday’s fatal ice hockey accident, the team released a statement as a tribute to Johnson’s legacy.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the Penguins stated. “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.”

According to The Associated Press, police are currently investigating Saturday’s incident that led to Johnson’s death.

“Our officers remain at the scene carrying out inquiries and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing,” South Yorkshire Police said on Monday. “We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our inquiries”