Arrest made in manslaughter investigation of U.S. ice hockey player’s death

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Adam Johnson

15th November 2023 – (Minnesota) A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson, who suffered a fatal neck injury during a match.

Johnson, a player for the Nottingham Panthers, was struck in the neck by a skate during a game against the Sheffield Steelers on 28th October. Despite being rushed to the hospital, the 29-year-old was pronounced dead.

Following a post-mortem examination, South Yorkshire Police confirmed that Johnson’s cause of death was a fatal neck injury.

On Tuesday, detectives arrested a suspect in relation to the incident, and they are currently in custody.

Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall from South Yorkshire Police expressed the extensive efforts undertaken to investigate the circumstances surrounding Johnson’s tragic loss. The police have consulted with specialized experts and are closely collaborating with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council to support their ongoing investigation.

Johnson’s untimely death has sent shockwaves through various communities, from local residents in Sheffield to ice hockey fans worldwide.

In light of the ongoing investigation, authorities urge members of the public to refrain from making comments or speculations that could hinder the inquiry.

The passing of Johnson, a native of Minnesota, United States, prompted an outpouring of grief globally. Speaking to KSTP-TV, a local news station in Minnesota, Johnson’s aunt, Kari Johnson, revealed that her nephew had plans to propose to his partner, Ryan Wolfe. The sudden tragedy has shattered their hopes for a future together.

Johnson had previously played in the National Hockey League (NHL) in North America, making 13 appearances for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He then transitioned to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2020-21 season before playing for the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League. Johnson subsequently joined the Augsburger Panther in Germany before moving to the Nottingham Panthers in August.

An inquest into Johnson’s death was opened and adjourned earlier this month. In a report addressing the prevention of future deaths, Coroner Tanyka Rawden called for the mandatory use of neck guards in ice hockey. While the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in the UK announced that they would not enforce the use of neck guards, they strongly encouraged players and officials to wear them. The English Ice Hockey Association, responsible for overseeing ice hockey in England below the Elite League, previously stated that neck guards would be mandatory starting in 2024.

The incident has been described as a “freak accident” by the Nottingham Panthers.