Tributes have been paid to an ice hockey star who died following a ‘freak accident’ during a match last night.
Adam Johnson reportedly suffered a slashed neck during the second period of the Challenge Cup match between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers. The 29-year-old was rushed to hospital from Sheffield’s Utilita Arena where he sadly later died.
Shocking footage posted on social media showed the sportsman being helped up off the ice following the clash with blood staining his shirt. Tributes have now begun pouring in for the athlete – beginning with his club, who are ‘truly devastated’ by the news.
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A spokesperson 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,” said the Panthers. 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.
“We ask that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, and everyone at the club is respected at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with our grief.”
Around 8,000 spectators witnessed the accident, before the game was stopped and screens erected to protect players’ privacy. Fans who attended the game have begun sharing their shell-shocked tributes online.
One fan posted to Facebook, “Last night, we were in the arena and witnessed the horrific accident on the ice. When we were all finally told to leave, my legs were shaking and about to give. I was hyperventilating – everything was a blur. My thoughts are with Adam Johnson, his family and the Nottingham Panthers.”
Another spectator said, “I wouldn’t wish what we witnessed last night, and what Adam Johnson’s family, friends and colleagues must be going through right now, upon my worst enemy. All of the Steelers and Panthers acted so quickly, most of all, our Steelers doctor, who was on that ice within a matter of seconds. It was a tragic accident. Rest in paradise Adam Johnson, number 47.”
A third said: “My 17-year-old has come home in bits, he said he can’t un-see what he’s seen tonight. He’s white as a sheet. My thoughts and prayers are with the teams involved.”
The Elite Ice Hockey League have since postponed today’s scheduled games out of respect. A statement from the Elite Ice Hockey League reads: “In light of this deeply upsetting news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled to take place on Sunday 29 October 2023.
“The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad and difficult time. We would also ask everyone to respect the privacy of Adam’s family at this time.”
South Yorkshire Police have also released a public statement, adding: “We were called at 8.25pm yesterday (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 today (29 October) and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.”
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