Johnson's team, the Nottingham Panthers, paid tribute to him following his death on Saturday
Adam Johnson, a former NHL forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins, has died at the age of 29.
Johnson's team, the British ice hockey club Nottingham Panthers announced his death on social media in the early hours of Sunday morning, writing on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the player died "following a freak accident" during a Saturday game against the Sheffield Steelers.
"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 post began.
"The Panthers would like to send our thoughts to Adam's family, his partner and all his friends at this extremely difficult time," the organization wrote. "Everyone at the club including players, staff, management and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam's passing. 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."
Johnson, a Minnesota native, was an “outstanding ice hockey player" and an "incredible person with his whole life ahead of him," the statement said. After noting that friends, family and the team were seeking to "come to terms with our grief" the statement concluded: "Rest in Peace Adam."
The BBC reported on Saturday night that the Challenge Cup match between the two teams at Sheffield Arena was called off when a "major medical emergency" happened during the game's 35th minute. The BBC also noted that the injury that prompted the game's ending was believed to be a cut to the neck from a skate.
The fans in attendance were then "asked to leave the building," the Panthers organization shared on X.
Johnson played for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins during both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, appearing in 13 games during his NHL career. The hockey player also spent time in the American Hockey League, as well as overseas in Sweden, Germany and most recently in the Elite Ice Hockey League following his college career at the University of Minnesota Duluth,
The EIHL itself shared multiple resources to social media for fans and spectators who found the incident "distressing," including outlets for mental health support.
In a statement posted on X on Sunday, the NHL expressed "prayers and deepest condolences" for Johnson's loved ones. The Penguins also posted a tribute to Johnson on X, alongside a black-and-white photo of the former player.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the life of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the Penguins wrote.
“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.”
All games scheduled for Sunday have since been postponed by the EIHL, the league announced on X.
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