Adam Johnson: Support for Sheffield Steelers' Matt Petgrave after fatal 'freak accident'

"The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for"
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A teammate of Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson, who died after a horror injury sustained during an ice hockey game, has said the team 'stand with' the Sheffield Steelers player who he fatally collided with.

On Saturday, October 28, Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson was seriously injured after he collided with Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave, whose blade struck Adam's neck.

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The Challenge Cup game was abandoned with all spectators evacuated from the Utilita Arena as medics rushed to Adam's aid. The 29-year-old was taken to Northern General Hospital, but tragically it was announced the following morning that he had died from his injuries.

Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson tragically died after a collision with Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave.Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson tragically died after a collision with Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave.
Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson tragically died after a collision with Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave.

Ice hockey fans have flooded social media with tributes to the talented forward, who was born in Minnesota, America. The community has also rallied around Steelers defenceman Petgrave following the tragedy - however he has also become a target of online abuse by some trolls.

Johnson’s teammate Westin Michaud has come to Petgrave's defence, writing on social media that the team 'stands with' him. On X, he wrote: "I need to address something about the accident.

"We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave. The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for.

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"I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident, I saw both players moving fast. The unintentional clip of the Panther player's leg by the Sheffield player caused the somersault.

"It's clear to me his actions were unintentional and anyone suggesting otherwise is mistaken. Let's come together and not spread unwarranted hate to someone who needs our support."

Floral tributes have been left outside both Sheffield’s Utilita Arena and Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, and a fundraiser page has so far raised over $23,000 for Adam's family. Fans will come together at both arenas on November 4 to pay respect to him.

Fans lay tributes at The Utilita Arena, Sheffield, after Nottingham Panthers ice hockey forward Adam Johnson diedFans lay tributes at The Utilita Arena, Sheffield, after Nottingham Panthers ice hockey forward Adam Johnson died
Fans lay tributes at The Utilita Arena, Sheffield, after Nottingham Panthers ice hockey forward Adam Johnson died

Yesterday (October 31), South Yorkshire Police, who launched an investigation into the death, stated that it 'remains ongoing' and will 'take some time'.

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The force said: "Our investigation into the death of a player following a Sheffield Steelers versus Nottingham Panthers game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield on Saturday 28 October remains ongoing.

"Since Saturday, detectives have been carrying out a range of enquiries including reviewing footage, talking to witnesses and seeking the advice and support of highly specialised experts to seek to understand the circumstances surrounding what happened. We have also been working closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our investigation.

"As with all unexpected and sudden deaths, it is standard practice for police to investigate the circumstances fully and feedback our findings to HM Coroner.

"Our officers have now left the scene, however due to the complex nature of this tragic and unprecedented incident, it is likely the wider investigation will take some time.

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"We continue to encourage the public to avoid speculation, including on social media, while we continue our enquiries and will provide updates when appropriate. Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of all those affected."

Sheffield Talking Therapies is hosting a number of dedicated psychology sessions for anyone who has been affected by the tragic event Utilita Arena on Saturday. These will be held on Thursday, November 2 from 7pm to 8pm, and Friday, November 3 from 10am to 10.45am.

Further information and advice for people affected by the tragic event at the weekend has been developed by the NHS across the South Yorkshire region and is available for people of all ages affected. Please click here for more information.