Arrest Made In Death Of Ex-NHL Player Whose Neck Was Cut By Skate During Game

Police in England have arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of American hockey player Adam Johnson, whose neck was cut by a skate blade during a game last month.

South Yorkshire Police said a man, who was not identified, was taken into custody on Tuesday for the Oct. 28 incident.

Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers in a Champions Cup game when he suffered a fatal neck injury on the ice. His team described the injury as a “freak accident.”

He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Fans look at floral tributes for Nottingham Panthers' ice hockey player Adam Johnson outside of the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, on November 4.
Fans look at floral tributes for Nottingham Panthers’ ice hockey player Adam Johnson outside of the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, on November 4.

Zac Goodwin – PA Images via Getty Images

“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world,” South Yorkshire Police Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in a statement Tuesday.

She asked members of the public to refrain from “comment and speculation which could hinder” the ongoing police investigation.

The player whose skate came into contact with Johnson’s neck was Matt Petgrave, 31, who plays for the Steelers, according to the Telegraph and the Associated Press.

Petgrave on Sunday attended his team’s first game following the incident, but did not play. He was given a standing ovation by spectators.

A representative for the Steelers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the news of an arrest.

The Panthers will play in their first game following Johnson’s death on Saturday as part of a memorial event.

Johnson previously played for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins before joining the Elite Ice Hockey League, which is the highest level of ice hockey in the U.K.

His death prompted the English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the sport below the Elite League, to mandate neck guards starting in 2024.

The Elite League said neck guards will not be mandatory but instead strongly encouraged.

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