Ice hockey player Adam Johnson has died in a ‘freak accident’ during a match.
The 29-year-old, who was originally from Minnesota in the US, played professionally for Nottingham Panthers – who compete in the Elite Ice Hockey League and participate in the Challenge Cup.
He also played for the National Hockey League (NHL) team Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as European teams Augsburger Panther and the Malmo Redhawks.
Johnson was playing in a derby match against Sheffield Steelers on October 28 at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield.
Tragically, the sportsman suffered a ‘freak accident’ which led to the match being abandoned shortly after.
Related Article: Teenager Dies After Eating Tortilla Chip So Hot That He Passed Out
Eyewitnesses at the game have reported that Johnson’s neck was allegedly cut by a skate during a game.
Players from both teams formed a protective ring around Johnson as he received treatment on the ice before screens were put up.
He was then taken to the hospital where he was devastatingly pronounced dead.
More than 8,000 people were in attendance when the accident occurred, with witnesses describing the incident as horrific and leaving many fans in tears, as per The Guardian.
Chris Bennett, a journalist who works for the publisher who was present at the match, has opened up about the tragic accident.
He said: “I’ve never seen that amount of blood come out of anyone at any sort of pace. It is one of the grimmest things I’ve ever seen at a sports event.”
He explained that Johnson got up and tried to continue before he collapsed after about three steps.
“It was an absolute family atmosphere… everyone was crying,” Bennett continued.
He added that children were ‘bawling uncontrollably’ and that it ‘was genuinely a freak accident’.
Peter Spencer, the BBC’s Sheffield Steelers reporter, shared that players and staff on both teams were ‘visibly affected’ and that he hopes that something like this never happens again.
South Yorkshire Police, which was called to the scene, have said it is ‘normal procedure’ to open an investigation when an incident is reported.
A force spokesperson commented: “Our officers remain at the scene carrying out inquiries. Our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.
“We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our inquiries.”
Following Johnson’s death, his teammates and fans have placed flowers and messages outside of the stadium in memory of him.
Tributes have poured in for Johnson, with his fiancée, Ryan Wolfe, posting a photo on her Instagram story, along with the caption: “My sweet, sweet angel. I’ll miss you forever and love you always.”
Johnson’s team Nottingham Panthers have also released a statement paying tribute.
It reads: “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.
“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.”
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
Johnson’s former team Pittsburgh Penguins have added: “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 honour to watch him fulfil his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”