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Manslaughter arrest in death of hockey player whose neck was cut with skate blade during game

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — Police in England arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of American ice hockey player Adam Johnson, whose neck was cut by a skate during a game.

Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers on Oct. 28 when a skate blade cut his neck in the Elite Ice Hockey League game at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.

South Yorkshire Police did not name the suspect or provide his age. He was in police custody.

The player whose skate cut Johnson’s neck was Matt Petgrave, 31, who plays for Sheffield.

“Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive inquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances,” Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said.

Photos of Adam Johnson line the ticket window booth at the Hibbing Memorial Building, in Hibbing, Minn., Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, as part of a celebration of life ceremony for the hockey player and Hibbing native who was killed in a hockey accident on Oct. 28 while playing in England. (Mark Sauer /The Mesabi Daily News via AP)Family, friends and teammates gather to remember fallen hockey player Adam JohnsonFILE - Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak kneels on the ice during a timeout in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Boston, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The death of American hockey player Adam Johnson from a cut to the neck in England has reignited the debate over skate blade safety. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)Death of a player from a skate to the neck reignites hockey’s stubborn debate over protective gearThe Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks gather at center ice, before an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, to honor former Penguin player Adam Johnson, shown on scoreboard, who died in while playing in an English hockey league game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Player’s death from a skate cut to the neck in England leads to more NHL talks on cut protection

Fans had a moment of silence for Johnson at the Steelers next game and gave Petgrave, who didn’t play in the game a standing ovation.

Johnson was a Minnesota native who appeared in a total of 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

The English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the sport below the Elite League, reacted to Johnson’s death by requiring all players in England to wear neck guards from the start of 2024.

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Messages sent to Johnson’s agent and a friend of the family seeking comment were not immediately returned.


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