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Former NHL player Adam Johnson died after a “freak accident” during his English team’s game Saturday. He was 29.
The Nottingham Panthers, who play in England’s Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), announced Sunday that the organization is “heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”
Officials stopped the Panthers’ game Saturday against the Sheffield Steelers after Johnson was involved in a collision on the ice during the second period. Johnson received emergency treatment on the ice, and players eventually returned to the locker room after he was taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
Nearly 8,000 fans at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena were asked to leave the building because of what the Panthers announced as a “major medical emergency.”
“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing,” the Panthers said in a statement. “Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news.
“The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
“Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him. The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.”
The EIHL announced that all of Sunday’s games have been postponed.
“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,” the league said.
Johnson appeared in 13 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins over parts of two seasons from 2018 to 2020, scoring one goal and registering four assists. He spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and also played for the AHL affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the Penguins said in a statement. “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.”
Johnson was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and played at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He started his overseas career in 2020 and was in his first season with the Panthers.