The worst nightmare for hockey players played out on the ice back on October 28th when Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson’s neck was sliced open by an opponent’s skate, leading to his death.
Johnson, a Minnesota native who had previously played in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins, was only 29-years-old, and had gone overseas to play in an English pro hockey league to continue chasing his dream.
His death was labeled as a freak accident, despite many people online suggesting that Matt Petgrave, the opponent from the Sheffield Steelers responsible for the high skate that ultimately killed Johnson, acted with intent to harm, or at the very least should be charged with manslaughter.
And now, 17 days after the horrible tragedy, the South Yorkshire Police Department announced that a suspect was arrested in suspicion of manslaughter in Adam Johnson’s death. The department did not release the name of the suspect, though it is easy to presume that the man they took into custody was Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave.
In a statement from South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall, the detective revealed:
“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 circumstance.
We have been speaking to highly specialized 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.”
Following the death of Adam Johnson, an ice hockey player for the Nottingham Panthers, UK police have detained a man on suspicion of manslaughter. pic.twitter.com/UcJr9njIDL
It is unknown what evidence led the police department to move forward with an arrest on manslaughter charges.
Many hockey fans witnessed the tragic event unfold in real time, and the horrifying video that was released of the incident afterwards was likely analyzed to see if there was any defense of Petgrave’s high skate.
Because of the graphic nature of the clip, we won’t include the footage of the aftermath of the high-skate slicing Adam Johnson’s throat. This link below only shows the impact moment and nothing afterwards, and it’s fair to assume that the video ultimately led the South Yorkshire Police to move forward with the arrest on manslaughter charges (murder without malice).
Ice Hockey Death Arrest – Adam Johnson. Police have now arrested the other player for Manslaughter. Guilty or accidental part of the game? 🧐 pic.twitter.com/eaRjmjzzd8
As stated earlier, the police department has not directly said that Matt Petgrave has been arrested, though it would be shocking and highly unlikely that someone else was taken in on manslaughter charges. The South Yorkshire Police Department is clearly trying to seek justice for Adam Johnson’s death, as they alluded to in their statement:
“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. Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.”
Petgrave was given a standing ovation in his return to home ice last night, presumably a show of support from fans who want to remind him that this was a freak accident. Matt has received a ton of hate online since the incident, and you can imagine how hard it has been on him knowing he’s responsible (whether accidentally, recklessly or otherwise) for killing a man.
But despite the ovation, the South Yorkshire Police Department ultimately think Petgrave, according to the law, shares some of the blame for the tragic incident, and have elected to arrest him.
Moment Matt Petgrave is given a standing ovation as he appears on ice after killing Adam Johnson by slashing him throat with his skate. pic.twitter.com/KDNphCmDhl