Absolutely devastating news has shook the hockey world as former Pittsburgh Penguin forward Adam Johnson was tragically killed in an on-ice accident over the weekend while playing for the Nottingham Panthers in a Challenge Cup game against the Sheffield Steelers.
Johnson was skating when he collided with another player whose skate came up and cut him in the neck. He was able to skate off under his own power, pouring blood on the ice, and immediately taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital where he succumbed to his injury.
WARNING: The video is extremely graphic.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player Adam Johnson dies after being kicked in the throat by a skate blade from hockey player Matt Petgrave. pic.twitter.com/PTBUQDICgb
The Panthers announced a “major medical emergency” and asked the crowd of over 8,000 to leave the stadium.
The team later released the following statement following the devastating news:
“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. 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. 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, 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 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
South Yorkshire Police are currently investigating the incident
“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.”
Speculation from social media has called the heartbreaking incident more than just a “freak accident” with some alleging that the opposing player, Matt Petgrave, intentionally kicked at Johnson. Petgrave has a history of high penalty minutes in the EIHL, as well as a handful of suspensions in various leagues including the ECHL and the AHL. Petgrave has also received an onslaught of “hate mail,” so to speak, and has moved all of his social media to private. Police will continue to investigate.
Johnson’s girlfriend, Ryan Wolf, took to Instagram to share a heartbreaking message regarding her late boyfriend:
“My sweet angel. I’ll miss you forever and love you always.”
Johnson played for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2018 to 2020, netting one goal and a handful of assists in 13 games.