(RepublicanDaily.org) – Adam Johnson, a former forward for the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins, died after figuring in a “freak accident” at a game in Sheffield, England.
The 29-year-old Johnson, who was currently playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) for the Nottingham Panthers, collided with an opposing player from the Sheffield Steelers, causing the latter’s skates to hit and lacerate Johnson’s neck.
The accident occurred during the second period of the game, which was part of the league’s Challenge Cup. The match, which was being held at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena, was immediately stopped and the shocked audience asked to exit the arena. The hockey star received treatment on the ice before being transported to a nearby hospital, but was shortly pronounced dead.
In a statement released shortly after Johnson’s death, the Nottingham Panthers said that the team was “truly devastated” and “heatbroken” by Johnson’s death caused by the “freak accident” at the game. The team extended its condolences to the hockey star’s family, partner, and friends.
“The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him,” the Panthers’ statement read.
The EIHL also temporarily postponed a number of games due to the incident. The league is also looking at the possibility of requiring players to wear neck protection at all times. Neck protection is currently “recommended” by league rules, but players are ultimately allowed to decide whether or not they want to wear such protective gear.
Johnson hails from Hibbing, Minnesota, and played 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, after which he played in Sweden for the Malmo Redhawks, and then moved to play for the Panthers.
Police in England are also reportedly investigating the incident, with officers “carrying out enquiries,” according to local authorities.
Serious injuries and incidents like the one that happened to Johnson are exceedingly rare in the sport. In 1989, Clint Malarchuk, the goaltender for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, also suffered a cut by skates to the neck, but survived. Another similar incident occurred in 2008 involving Richard Zednik of the Florida Panthers. He also survived the ordeal.
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