Former NHL star Adam Johnson, 29, dies in ‘freak accident’ during U.K. hockey game

American hockey star Adam Johnson has died following a “freak accident” during a game for a British hockey league on Saturday.

Johnson, who hailed from Minnesota, was 29.

Johnson was playing for the Nottingham Panthers, which is under the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), against the Sheffield Steelers Saturday night at Utilita Arena Sheffield, when he suffered a serious cut to the neck from a skate, the BBC reported.

The Panthers tweeted Saturday the Challenge Cup game was “stopped” Saturday night for a “bad injury” and players returned to the locker rooms. Fans were later asked to leave the building “due to a major medical emergency.”

The Nottingham Panthers said in a statement Johnson “has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night.”

“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,” the club wrote.

“The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time,” the statement continued. “Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”

The team didn’t share details on what happened to Johnson but said, “The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.”

Johnson previously played in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a forward from 2018 to 2020, ESPN reported.

The Penguins mourned Johnson’s passing in a statement saying: “The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon.”

“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 a part of the Penguins family. It was our honor to watch him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League,” the statement added.

The Elite Ice Hockey League said all games scheduled to take place Sunday will be postponed.

The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad and difficult time. We would also ask everyone to respect the privacy of Adam’s family at this time,” the league shared on X.

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