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Man Arrested Over Ice Hockey Player Adam Johnson’s Death During Match

Adam Johnson
Credit: NIHL National Division & Alamy

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson.

The Nottingham Panthers player, 29, was killed during a match against the Sheffield Steelers on October 28 at the Utilita Arena.

The game was abandoned and the sportsman was rushed to hospital, where he was tragically pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury, South Yorkshire Police say.

Johnson, who was originally from Minnesota in the US, played professionally in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in the UK.

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Before moving to the Panthers, he competed in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as Germany’s Augsburger Panther and Sweden’s Malmo Redhawks.

Police revealed that detectives had arrested the suspect on November 14 and he remains in custody.

Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said: “Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.

Adam Johnson
A man has been arrested for manslaughter after Panthers ice hockey player Adam Johnson was killed at a match. Credit:

“We have been speaking to highly specialised experts in their field to assist in our enquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.

“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world.

“We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process.

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“Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.”

South Yorkshire Police said in a statement: “Detectives have today [Tuesday, November 14] arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter.

“He remains in police custody at this time.

“On Saturday, October 28, Adam, aged 29, was seriously injured during a game between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers and was sadly later pronounced deceased in hospital.

“A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury.”

Police have not named the man arrested.

Adam Johnson and Ryan Wolfe.
Johnson’s fiancée, Ryan Wolfe, paid tribute to the Panthers player calling him the ‘love of her life’. Credit: @ryanwolfe17/Instagram

Johnson’s death sparked an outpouring of grief across the world.

Peter Spencer, the BBC’s Sheffield Steelers reporter, says that players and staff on both teams were ‘visibly affected’ by what happened.

While Johnson’s fiancée, Ryan Wolfe, said: “I’ll miss you forever and love you always.”

Wolfe read a letter at Johnson’s memorial service addressing the sportsman as ‘the love of her life’.

“You’ve been so amazingly supportive and kind to me since the day we met,” she said, as per LBC.

“And I couldn’t have been more grateful for it. I always thought that maybe if I was lucky enough, after a lifetime together, that I might start to be more like you.

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“You’re such a special person, you have the best sense of humour, the biggest heart, the quickest wit and the kindest soul. You’re unbelievably loyal, dedicated and smart. You’re so, so smart.

“Whether it came to school or life in general, you just seem to have it all figured out, which gave me so much peace and comfort, and made me feel like we could do anything, or be anything, and we’d be OK. We’d be happy.”

The Panthers player’s inquest was recently opened and adjourned. In a prevention of future deaths report, coroner Tanyka Rawden called for the compulsory use of neck guards in ice hockey following Johnson’s death.

The EIHL – the UK’s top ice hockey division – announced it would not make neck guards mandatory but would ‘strongly encourage’ players and officials to wear them.

However, the English Ice Hockey Association – which oversees all levels of ice hockey in England below the Elite League – announced that neck guards would be mandatory from 2024 onwards.

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Written by Millicent Cooke

Millicent is editorial lead at IGV and specialises in sourcing the best viral, entertainment and celebrity news. She studied Multimedia Journalism at London South Bank University before entering the world of local newspapers. From there, she catapulted through the realms of journalism, making stops at BBC News, LADbible Group, Daily Star and The Mirror.