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Tragic Death on the Ice

Posted 11/15/2023 by Max Feierstein

The late Adam Johnson was honored by his former team in a special ceremony before a Pittsburgh Penguins game. photo by Gene J. Puskar

Professional Hockey has forever been changed as a freak death on the ice shocks the sports world.

 American-born hockey player Adam Johnson died in a freak hockey skating accident. He was playing a game in England’s Elite Hockey league on Saturday, October 28th, and his throat was cut by an opponent’s skate after a freak collision. Johnson, only 29 years old, had bounced around from league to league with a short two-year stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL(National Hockey League). Johnson recently signed with the Nottingham Panthers in August of 2023, and unknowingly  played his last game with them on the 28th. 

During the second period of his game against the Sheffield Steelers, Johnson was cut in the throat after colliding with a Steelers player. The arena asked spectators and fans to leave following the freak injury and the game was suspended when word of Johnson’s death surfaced. Hockey fans from around the world heard about Johnson’s death and came together to mourn the tragic end of the young hockey player. In fact, his former team in Pittsburgh honored Johnson at a game this season with a moment of silence. Before the game on October 30th, the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins honored Johnson with a moment of silence and after fans were encouraged to cheer and give a standing ovation while both teams met at center ice in a circle. The stadium showed a picture of Johnson in his Penguins sweater as he was being honored. 

This tragic death shocked the sports world and was all over social media and the news for days. Johnson will never be forgotten and has helped the NHL and other major hockey organizations look into more cut-resistant padding and guards around the neck and wrist areas. Johnson’s death will forever be in the hearts of hockey fans around the world. Many people took to the streets to mourn the loss of the Minnesota-born player. There is a growing monument outside of Johnson’s hometown rink where people are memorializing him and his career. Marielle Mohs of CBS Minnesota wrote, “a memorial has been growing for Adam outside his hometown rink, the Hibbing Memorial Arena. There are hockey sticks, pucks, skates and jerseys and messages to Adam that make up this memorial.” The Minnesota community has been doing everything they can to enshrine Johnson’s name, life, and career into the hearts of fans around the world. There have been countless memorials, and celebrations of life for Johnson and his memory and great spirit will live on in his home state and rink.

Johnson has received so much prayer and support from the country and his story has been widely spread. Many people are aware of his death and are taking action to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Hockey players in England are going to be required to wear neck guards to prevent this freak accident from happening again. While his death has shocked many, Johnson is making the game of hockey safer around the world, not only for young players, but for the future of the game.