Team rallies around Brampton hockey player Matt Petgrave after skate cuts neck killing Adam Johnson in U.K. game
Published November 1, 2023 at 8:53 am
Police are investigating as teammates of former Brampton Beast hockey player Matt Petgrave are standing by the defenceman after his skate blade cut the neck of Adam Johnson during a game, killing the former Pittsburgh Penguin.
The British Elite Ice Hockey League was left stunned on Saturday when Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers died after his neck was cut by a skate blade during a game with the Sheffield Steelers at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, U.K.
Johnson was rushed to hospital with serious injuries where he was later pronounced deceased, according to South Yorkshire Police.
What’s been called a “freak accident” by the Panthers happened in an on-ice collision with Petgrave, who has reportedly received death threats and been the target of racist posts online since the incident, as some are calling for charges to be laid against the 31-year-old defenceman.
“I need to address something about the accident. We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave,” said the Pather’s Westin Michaud in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday. “The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for. I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident, I saw both players moving fast.”
A veteran of the PHL and OJHL, Petgrave has played for the Brampton Beast and Bramalea Blues as well as the Oshawa Generals.
South Yorkshire Police say the investigation into the death of hockey player Adam Johnson remains ongoing and will likely “take some time.” Police said in a statement Wednesday that officers have finished their work at Utilita Arena in Sheffield and have moved on to a wider investigation.
“Since Saturday, detectives have been carrying out a range of enquiries including reviewing footage, talking to witnesses and seeking the advice and support of highly specialized experts to seek to understand the circumstances surrounding what happened,” the statement read.
“We continue to encourage the public to avoid speculation, including on social media, while we continue our enquiries and will provide updates when appropriate. Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of all those affected.”
Johnson, a 29-year-old native of Grand Rapids, appeared in a total of 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 and 2020 before heading to the EIHL.
With files from The Canadian Press
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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. pic.twitter.com/lhSOkDu03Q
— The Nottingham Panthers (@PanthersIHC) October 29, 2023