Minnesota hockey star killed by skate remembered by community

(FOX 9)Hibbing native and former University of Minnesota Duluth hockey player, Adam Johnson, is being remembered by the hockey community around the world after dying in a freak accident on the ice Saturday.

“He was dynamic, had exceptional skills, and reached a high level in the sport. However, what truly matters to me is what a remarkable person he was,” shared Johnson’s High School hockey coach, Mark DeCenzo. “He was a pleasure to coach, a valuable teammate, and an all-around good person.”

The 29-year-old Johnson tragically lost his life on Saturday during a game in England while playing for the Nottingham Panthers.

As a memorial grew outside the Hibbing Memorial Arena, DeCenzo expressed how the tight-knit Iron Range community was deeply affected by the news.

“There will come a day when we can reflect on the memories and the stories, but for now, we are trying to come to terms with this loss,” he said. “Right now, we are consumed by remorse and grief. Hopefully, in time, we can appreciate the impact he had on our lives.”

Johnson briefly played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored his one and only NHL goal during a game against the Minnesota Wild in 2019.

The Pittsburgh Penguins released a statement saying, “The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon. We offer our deepest condolences to Adam’s family and friends, as well as all of Adam’s past and present teammates and coaches. Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family. It was our honor to witness him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”

The Minnesota Wild also expressed their grief in a statement, stating, “The State of Hockey is mourning the loss of Adam, his family, and his entire hockey community.”

Professional hockey players and former teammates took to social media to pay tribute

He was an incredible teammate and person,” wrote NHL player Brett Sutter. “We will miss his smile and dry sense of humor. Rest peacefully, my friend.”

The Nottingham Panthers addressed the tragic accident in a detailed statement posted on their website, stating:

“Everyone at the club, including players, staff, management, and ownership, is heartbroken by the news of Adam’s passing. Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended the game or followed it closely, and who will be devastated by today’s news.

“The Panthers extend their gratitude to everyone who rushed to support Adam under the most challenging circumstances last night. Adam, our number 47, was not only an exceptional ice hockey player but also an outstanding teammate and an incredible person with a bright future ahead of him.”

The University of Minnesota Duluth Hockey program has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. on Monday, where coach Scott Sandelin will reflect on Johnson’s passing.


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