Adam Johnson death: Former NHL player dies after ‘freak accident’ in hockey game with UK’s Nottingham Panthers

Former NHL player Adam Johnson died after what was called a “freak accident” during a game in England’s professional hockey league on Saturday. 

Johnson was 29 years old. 

The Nottingham Panthers, one of the teams in the Elite Ice Hockey League and the club Johnson was playing for, announced his death  Sunday. 

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

Adam Johnson accident 

Johnson died as a result of a neck laceration from a skate during a game in the EIHL’s Challenge Cup. 

In the second period of the Panthers’ contest against the Sheffield Steelers, Johnson collided with an opponent that resulted in his neck being sliced by a skate. Officials stopped the Panthers-Steelers game, and Johnson received emergency treatment on the ice.

Eventually players left for the locker room and the almost 8,000 fans at Utilita Arena, home to the Steelers, were asked to leave the building due to a “major medical emergency.”

Johnson was taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

South Yorkshire Police said the following in a statement:

“We were called at 8:25 p.m. (October 28) to reports that a player had been seriously injured during a Sheffield Steelers versus Nottingham Panthers game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield. Officers attended the scene alongside other emergency services and one man, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Sadly, he was later pronounced deceased at hospital.

“Our officers remain at the scene carrying out enquiries today (October 29) and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.”

Adam Johnson NHL career

Johnson was a native of Hibbing, Minn. He played for two years in the NCAA with Minnesota-Duluth before making the jump to the pros. He played in 13 games for the Penguins and spent time in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

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

Johnson spent the 2022-23 season in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga, and then signed with Nottingham in the EIHL for this season. He played in seven games with the Panthers. 

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