‘Outstanding’ American ice hockey player Adam Johnson dies in ’freak accident’

American ice hockey player Adam Johnson tragically died in a “freak accident” on the ice while playing for English team Nottingham Panthers, according to a statement released by the team.

During the second period of the team’s Challenge Cup match against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday, Johnson suffered a severe neck injury after colliding with a player from Sheffield.

The Nottingham Panthers described the 29-year-old as an “outstanding ice hockey player” and expressed their heartbreak over the loss.

“The Nottingham Panthers are devastated to announce the tragic passing of Adam Johnson following a freak accident during the game in Sheffield last night,” the team stated on Sunday.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who offered support to Adam during this difficult time.”

The Panthers had requested fans to evacuate the Sheffield arena due to a “major medical emergency,” as stated on their social media platform on Saturday. BBC Sport reported that approximately 8,000 spectators were present.

The Panthers compete in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the top league in England. The league announced the postponement of all scheduled games on Sunday.

“Many of us found Saturday’s events distressing,” stated the league in a statement. “We urge everyone to take care of themselves and one another.”

Adam Johnson, a forward born in Hibbing, Minnesota, began his professional career in the American Hockey League before progressing to the NHL, where he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He participated in 13 matches over two years and scored four points.

In October 2019, Johnson scored a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the Penguins’ 7-4 victory.

“The National Hockey League family mourns the passing of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson. Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends, and teammates,” expressed the NHL in a statement.

Johnson also played in Sweden and Germany before joining the Panthers for the 2023-24 season.

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