Arrest after ice hockey player’s freak death

American ice hockey player Adam Johnson who died during a game in England. An arrest has been made.

American ice hockey player Adam Johnson who died during a game in England. An arrest has been made. Photo: AAP

A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the freak death during a match last month of a British ice hockey player.

Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson died after suffering serious injuries when his neck was cut by another player’s blade during the match against Sheffield Steelers in Sheffield, northern England.

British police said the man, whose name was not released, is in police custody.

Johnson, 29, was an American from Minnesota who joined the club in August. He had previously played in Germany and Sweden, as well as in the US’s National Hockey League.

“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,” Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said on Tuesday (local time).

The coroner overseeing the inquest has called for neck guards to be made mandatory following Johnson’s death, which his club described as a “freak incident”.

“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world,” Horsfall said.

The other player involved in October’s grisly incident was 31-year-old Matt Petgrave, 31, who plays for Sheffield.

Video from the match shows Johnson skating with the puck toward the Steelers net.

Petgrave skates toward Johnson and collides with another Panthers player. As Petgrave begins to fall, his left skate kicks up and the blade hits Johnson in the neck.

Both players land on the ice. Petgrave immediately got to his feet. Johnson rose more slowly and as he is helped off the ice, his jersey is covered in blood. He later died at a local hospital.

The incident reverberated around the ice hockey community and led to moments of silence in the NHL.

Johnson’s aunt Kari told Minnesota TV station in the days after his death that her nephew was planning to propose to his partner, Ryan Wolfe.

“We were all really excited because we were really looking forward to their future and he didn’t get a chance to ask her, and then this happened,” she said.

-with AAP

Topics: Britain
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