Adam Johnson: Tears, tributes and police probe into tragic death of Nottingham Panthers player in Sheffield
Flowers, shirts and tributes have been left in both Sheffield and Nottingham following the tragic death of an ice hockey player in a game involving teams from both cities on Saturday night.
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Adam Johnson, aged 29, suffered a severe cut to his neck from a skate during an on-ice incident at the Utilita Arena Sheffield and later died in hospital.
Johnson, who was born in Minnesota, USA, signed for the Panthers this summer.
He was initially helped up off the ice by a team mate following the clash but then succumbed to his injuries. Players from both sides formed a circle around him and screens were brought onto the rink to shield him from fans as the severity of the incident became apparent.
The arena was then cleared while medics fought to save the player.
Announcing his death, the Panthers said: "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 were attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news.
"The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
"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."
Yesterday, there were emotional scenes as Panthers players gathered outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, where the team plays, to pay their respects.
Coach Kevin Moore said: "Our heart breaks with all of yours, we just want you to know that we're all grieving this together as a team, a community and a city. We're all going to get through this together with a lot of love, a lot of thought and a lot of laughter.
"As time goes on we're all going to heal but we're going to do it together. Our group is strong and connected and we're going to do you guys proud. We appreciate everyone coming out today and everyone thanks you for the support, we love you all."
Fans also gathered at the Utilita Arena Sheffield as a mark of respect.
South Yorkshire Police have released a public statement, adding: "We were called at 8.25pm on Saturday, 28 October 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 and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing."