Police investigating death of ice hockey star Adam Johnson after ‘skate cut throat’ in freak accident

30 October 2023, 14:40 | Updated: 30 October 2023, 15:23

Police are investigating Johnson's death.
Police are investigating Johnson's death. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Police are investigating the death of ice hockey star Adam Johnson after his throat was cut during a freak accident on Saturday.

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Adam Johnson, 29, was killed after his throat was slashed by a skate during a match on Saturday night against the Sheffield Steelers.

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

The 29-year-old was rushed to hospital after receiving emergency treatment on the ice as other players formed a ring around him. He was later confirmed to have died.

South Yorkshire Police have confirmed they are now investigating Johnson’s death.

“Our officers remain at the scene carrying out enquiries,” a spokesperson for the force said.

"Our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.

"We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our enquiries."

Johnson’s fiancée, Ryan Wolfe, and mother, Kari, paid tribute to the ice hockey star following the incident.

Fans left tributes to the ice hockey star outside Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.
Fans left tributes to the ice hockey star outside Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. Picture: LBC
Johnson and his fiancée.
Johnson and his fiancée. Picture: Instagram

Read more: ‘I’ll miss you forever and love you always’: Heartbroken fiancée’s tribute to ice hockey player killed in freak accident

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

Ms Wolfe, who was in the crowd when the heart-stopping accident occurred over the weekend, said: “My sweet, sweet angel. I'll miss you forever and love you always.”

While his mum, Kari, wrote on Sunday: “I lost half of my heart tonight."

Fans and teammates have since left tributes outside the Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena for Johnson, leaving flowers and signed shirts.

Players and staff at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium held a minute’s silence for the Minnesota-born athlete on Sunday.

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."

Assistant coach Kevin Moore told crowds on Sunday: “As time goes on we are going to heal, we are going to do that together," adding that they were "really grateful for all the love and support" shown.

His fiancée paid tribute on Instagram on Monday.
His fiancée paid tribute on Instagram on Monday. Picture: Instagram
Fans paid tribute to the ice hockey player.
Fans paid tribute to the ice hockey player. Picture: Alamy

Sheffield City Council also confirmed their health safety team are assisting the investigation.

"Firstly, our thoughts are with Adam's family, friends and teammates at this very sad and difficult time,” councillor Joe Otten said.

"Our health and safety team is helping South Yorkshire Police with their investigation and will assist wherever necessary."

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."