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Former NHL player’s sudden death shocks fans

Former NHL player Adam Johnson passed away after being cut in the throat by a skate in an Elite Ice Hockey League game between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers.

It was a freak accident. Steelers defenseman Matt Petgrave went in for a hit on a Panthers player, he missed the hit and caught an edge on the ice which up-ended him. Unfortunately, this raised his skates up in the air, causing him to clip Johnson in the neck.

The team released a statement on Oct. 29, “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.”

This is a huge blow to the hockey community, which is different from most other sports due to the nature of the community. Everybody knows everybody, and collectively, the hockey world mourns the death of Johnson.

Johnson played hockey his whole life. Starting off with four years at his high school, Hibbing Chisholm High, in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, he then moved on to play two years in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers.

In 2015, Johnson began his two years of college hockey, playing at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. A strong second season with the Bulldogs got Johnson a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Across his three seasons with the Penguins organization, Johnson spent his time primarily with their minor league club in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He played 185 games in the AHL but made his NHL debut with the Penguins in the 2018-19 season.

Johnson played 13 games in the NHL across two seasons, scoring one goal and three assists.

During the pandemic, Johnson spent time with the Malmö RedHawks in Sweden. Once the AHL resumed, he crossed the pond again to play with the Ontario Reign, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

His final season in North America consisted of half a season with Ontario and then half a season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, Johnson decided to officially take his game overseas for a full season. He signed with the Augsburger Panther of the DEL, Germany’s highest level of pro hockey.

He then started this season with the Nottingham Panthers of the EIHL, located in England. To start the year, Johnson had four goals and seven points in seven games.

Only two days following Johnson’s death, the English Ice Hockey Association announced that neck guards will be mandated for every player to wear starting on January 1, 2024.

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