'I lost half of my heart': Heartbroken mum pays tribute to hockey player son after 'throat slit' in freak accident

29 October 2023, 17:28 | Updated: 29 October 2023, 17:44

Adam Johnson has died in a freak accident
Adam Johnson has died in a freak accident. Picture: Facebook/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The heartbroken mother of an ice hockey player who was killed in a freak accident has paid tribute to her son.

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Adam Johnson was killed in a freak accident when his throat was slit by a skate during a match on Saturday night.

The ice hockey match between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers was abandoned after the incident.

Johnson was rushed to hospital, where he later died.

His heartbroken mum, Kari, posted on Facebook: "I lost half of my heart tonight."

Adam Johnson and his mum Kari
Adam Johnson and his mum Kari. Picture: Facebook

Officials declared a medical emergency at Sheffield's Utilita Arena on Saturday night when the Challenge Cup tie was stopped in the second period.

Johnson, 29, was rushed to hospital after receiving emergency treatment on the ice as other players formed a ring around him.

Protective screens were raised around Johnson as the 8,000-strong crowd left the arena.

Witnesses said that his throat was cut by a skate. Johnson was later confirmed to have died.

Adam Johnson has died
Adam Johnson has died. Picture: Getty
Adam Johnson has died
Adam Johnson has died. Picture: Getty

Nottingham Panthers said on Sunday morning: "The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night."

'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.

"Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam's passing.

"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."

Sheffield said in their own statement: "Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson's partner, family & teammates."

Minnesota-born Johnson played for Pittsburg Penguins in the National Hockey League as well as Swedish side Malmo Redhawks and other teams in Germany and Canada, before joining the Nottingham Panthers in August this year.

The Penguins said in a statement: "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 watch him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League."

Sunday's three Elite League games in Belfast, Fife and Guildford have been postponed following Johnson's death.

"The Elite Ice Hockey League is heartbroken to confirm that Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson sadly passed away following a freak accident in Saturday's game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers," the league said in a statement.

"In light of this deeply upsetting news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled to take place on Sunday October 29, 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."