Courts and Crime

Johnson died after another player’s skate cut his neck during a game in England

Police in England have arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter in the shocking death of professional ice hockey player Adam Johnson

According to a coroner’s report released earlier this month, the 29-year-old Johnson died after he “sustained an incised wound to the neck caused by the skate of another player.” The incident occurred during an Oct. 28 game between Johnson’s team, the Nottingham Panthers, and the Sheffield Steelers, with a crowd of about 8,000 people in attendance. The match was abandoned after Johnson’s injury. 

An arrest in the case was made Tuesday, Nov. 14. “Detectives have today arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter,” police in South Yorkshire said. “He remains in police custody at this time.” The suspect’s name was not released, though it’s assumed to be Matt Petgrave, the other player involved in the fatal incident. 

In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said, “Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances. We have been speaking to highly specialized experts in their field to assist in our inquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield city council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.”


Following Johnson’s death, the Nottingham Panthers released a statement calling the incident a “freak accident,” adding: “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.”

Johnson was born in Hibbing, Minnesota and entered the pro hockey world after signing an entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent two years playing with a Penguins affiliate in the American Hockey League before making his NHL debut in 2019. Johnson went on to play professionally in Sweden and Germany before signing with the Nottingham Panthers in August 2023.