A man has been arrested for the manslaughter of Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson after his tragic death last month.
The 29-year-old American ice hockey star was killed after a skate slashed his throat in a collision during a match against Sheffield Steelers on October 28.
About 8,000 fans watched in horror as attempts were made to save Johnson’s life as he lay bleeding on the ice at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena, shielded by fellow players after the collision with Steelers star Matt Petgrave, before he later died of his injuries in hospital.
A coroner’s inquest was opened into Johnson’s death last week, before being adjourned until January 2024.
South Yorkshire Police have released a statement confirming that the man remains in police custody after his arrest on Tuesday.
A man has been arrested on charges of manslaughter following the death of Adam Johnson
The 29-year-old (pictured with his partner Ryan Wolfe) died of a fatal neck injury following a collision on the ice
Matt Petgrave collided with Johnson on the ice during the match in Sheffield last month
A statement shared on Tuesday read: ‘Detectives have today (Tuesday 14 November) arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter. He remains in police custody at this time.
‘On Saturday 28 October, Adam, aged 29, was seriously injured during a game between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers and was sadly later pronounced deceased in hospital. A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury.’
Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall added that the police had made ‘extensive enquiries’ in the wake of the tragedy.
‘Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.
‘We have been speaking to highly specialised experts in their field to assist in our enquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.
‘Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world. We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process.
Johnson (ringed), seen seconds before the incident at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena on October 28
The clash took place during a match between the Panthers and the Steelers in front of around 8,000 fans
The Minnesota-born former NHL star was laid to rest in his hometown of Hibbing last week
Nottingham Forest held a minute’s applause for the player during their Premier League tie against Aston Villa
‘Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.’
The man in question cannot be named at this time.
The number was chosen to correspond with the shirt worn by Johnson’s for the Panthers, and in the same minute, Forest’s Orel Mangala scored as all four sides of supporters in the stands stood to pay homage to Johnson.
The Minnesota-born star – who previously featured in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins – was also remembered on the same day at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, the Panthers’ home.
Fans, players, and members of staff gathered to lay floral tributes and sign a book of condolence for Johnson’s family.
The club will be hosting an ‘Adam Johnson Memorial Match’ on Saturday versus Manchester Storm.
Following the opening of the inquest, coroner Tanyka Rawden called for neck guards to be made mandatory across the sport.
‘In due course the inquest will consider whether the use of a neck guard or protector could have prevented Mr Johnson’s death,’ Rawden shared.
Hundreds of floral tributes have been left at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena over the past few days
Fans gathered to sign a book of condolences for Johnson’s family in the wake of the tragedy
The club will play an ‘Adam Johnson Memorial Match’ on Saturday against Manchester Storm
‘At this stage in my investigation however, I am sufficiently concerned that deaths may occur in the future if neck guards or protectors are not worn.
‘In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.’
Governing body EIHA previously said neck guards will be made mandatory from 2024 onwards but that decision will not impact the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) which is not under its control.
The EIHL said they will not make the use of neck guards mandatory but will ‘strongly encourage’ players and officials to wear them following Johnson’s death.