A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by the police in connection to the death of professional ice hockey player Adam Johnson.
Johnson, who was 29 years old, passed away after seemingly suffering a fatal injury to his neck caused by the skate blade of a fellow player during a Challenge Cup match between his team, Nottingham Panthers, and Sheffield Steelers on October 30th.
Approximately 8,000 individuals were present at Sheffield Arena for the Saturday evening game. Eyewitnesses described the event as dreadful and reported that many spectators were in tears as the game was called off.
South Yorkshire police announced on Tuesday that a man has been arrested for possible manslaughter and is currently in custody.
Adam, who was 29 years old, sustained severe injuries during a match between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers on October 28th. Sadly, he was later declared deceased at the hospital. A postmortem examination determined that his cause of death was a fatal neck injury.
Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall stated that the investigation began immediately after the tragedy occurred. They have been conducting thorough investigations to uncover the sequence of events that resulted in the tragic loss of Adam under these unprecedented circumstances.
“We have consulted with experts who are highly knowledgeable in their respective fields to aid our investigations and maintain a close collaboration with the health and safety division of Sheffield city council, who is providing assistance in our ongoing inquiry.”
The passing of Adam has caused a great disturbance in multiple communities, from our neighbors in Sheffield to ice hockey enthusiasts around the globe. We understand that these communities will anticipate us to conduct this investigation with the same level of professionalism, impartiality, and sensitivity as any other case. We kindly ask that the public refrain from making comments or speculations that may impede this process. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragic event as we continue our inquiries.
The authorities have not disclosed the identity of the detained individual.
Johnson, who hails from Minnesota, USA, joined the Nottingham Panthers in August following a career that saw him play for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Malmö Redhawks in Sweden, and Augsburger Panther in Germany.
Several accolades have been given to Johnson. According to Omar Pacha, the chief executive of the Panthers, Johnson’s standout qualities were his sense of humor, humility, selflessness, infectious smile, and his ability to show kindness and respect to everyone at the club.
During the inquiry into Johnson’s passing, Sheffield coroner Tanyka Rawden urged for mandatory use of neck guards in the sport.
In a report discussing the prevention of fatalities in UK ice hockey, Rawden expressed concern about the potential for future deaths if players do not wear neck guards or protectors.
The organizations Ice Hockey UK and the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) were given a deadline of 56 days to respond with information about the steps they have taken or the reasons for not taking action.
The EIHA has announced that neck guards will be required starting in 2024, but the Elite League, which includes teams like the Panthers and Steelers, is not subject to its regulations. The Elite League has stated that while it will not make neck guards mandatory, it will strongly recommend that players and officials wear them following the tragic incident.
Responding to the report of an apprehension while at her residence in Kelly Lake, Minnesota, Adam’s aunt Kari Johnson remarked: “We will have to allow events to unfold and observe the outcome. Whatever their decision may be, I would have to accept it. However, I am relieved that they are taking appropriate measures.”