Adam Johnson: Tragedy as Nottingham Panthers player dies after horror injury in Sheffield Steelers game

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There is shock and devastation today at the confirmation of the death of an ice hockey player following a horror injury sustained at a Sheffield Steelers game last night.

Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson, aged 29, suffered a severe neck injury after he was caught by a blade in last night's Challenge Cup clash at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.

Adam Johnson (Photo: Nottingham Panthers)Adam Johnson (Photo: Nottingham Panthers)
Adam Johnson (Photo: Nottingham Panthers) | Nottingham Panthers

The game was immediately abandoned and screens were brought onto the ice to shield the injured player while medics battled to save him.

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Horrified players from both sides also formed a circle around him.

Nottingham Panthers described the incident last night as a "major medical emergency".

An announcement was made urging fans to leave the arena while medical treatment was being administered to the stricken player.

He was then stretchered off the ice to a waiting ambulance and transported to the Northern General Hospital.

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Last night, ice hocky fans flooded social media with messages of of support for the talented forward, who was born in Minnesota, America, urging him to pull through.

But this morning, just before 9am, the heartbreaking news of his passing was announced - devastating the 8,000 fans who witnessed the horror incident and who had spent all night desperately hoping that he would survive.

In a statement, Nottingham Panthers said: "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."

They added: "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.

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"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.

"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.

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"The club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.

"We ask that the privacy of Adam's family and friends, and everyone at the club, is respected at this difficult time as we seek to come to terms with our grief.

"Rest in peace Adam."

The Elite Ice Hockey League said: "The Elite Ice Hockey League is heartbroken to confirm that Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson sadly passed away following a freak accident in Saturday’s game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.

"In light of this deeply upsetting news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled to take place on Sunday 29 October 2023.

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"The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and team mates at this incredibly sad and difficult time. We would also ask everyone to respect the privacy of Adam’s family at this time.

"Many of us will have found Saturday’s events very distressing. Please take care of yourselves and each other. Further help and advice is available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/london/our-work/mental-health-support/help-and-support/"

Sheffield Steelers added: "Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson's partner, family & team mates."

The death has shocked the entire ice hockey community and there has been an outpouring of grief on social media.

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Posting on X, formerly Twitter, ice hockey fan Luke Bennett, said: "Really struggling to process what was witnessed last night at the Steelers game. Never in your life do you expect to witness anything so distressing and I know it will stay with me for a long long time. Thoughts and prayers with Adam Johnson and to anyone involved at both clubs."

Ailsa Franklin added: "As a fan there, it was the most awful night in sport for the Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers fans."

Johnson signed for the Nottingham Panthers for the 2023-24 season in August.

He began his professional career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2017-18 in the American Hockey League, spending three years with the Pennsylvania-based outfit.

His performances then saw him called-up to Pittsburgh.

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In 2020-21, he played in the SHL - the top level in Sweden - before returning to the AHL.

After a season-and-a-half with split between Ontario Reign and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Johnson spent last season in Germany's DEL with Augsburger Panther.

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