Former NHL player Adam Johnson tragically died after a “freak accident” during a game in England on Saturday when he suffered a catastrophic cut to his neck, according to his club and reports.
The horrifying incident took place during the second period of the Challenge Cup game between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.
According to multiple reports, the 29-year-old Johnson was slashed by the skate of an opposing player during a collision on the ice.
“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 said in a statement Sunday morning.
“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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
According to ESPN, Johnson was treated on the ice before being taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. While players made their way back to the locker room, the nearly 8,000 fans were reportedly asked to leave the arena.
The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) announced that all games on Sunday have been postponed as a result of Johnson’s passing.
“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. We would also ask everyone to respect the privacy of Adam’s family at this time.”
Johnson, a Minnesota native, played 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, registering one goal and three assists.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the life of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the team 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 part of the Penguins family.”