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On October 29, a “freak accident” occurred during the second quarter of the game, when 29-year-old Adam Johnson on the Nottingham Panthers collided with a 31-year-old Sheffield Steelers player, Matt Petgrave.
A violent collision resulted in Petgrave’s skate going into the air and fatally slicing Johnson’s neck.
According to reports, Johnson attempted to skate to the team bench before he fell on the ice.
Both team players locked arms with Johnson and attended to his aid, while medics helped before screens were raised and fans departed.
Following the collision, the match was immediately suspended, and fans were asked to leave the Utilita arena.
Johnson was pronounced dead at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital
The team had confirmed that Johnson died “following a freak accident at the game.”
South Yorkshire Police (SYP) are still investigating the incident, stating, “We were called at 8:25 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 October to reports that a player had been seriously injured during a Sheffield Steelers versus Nottingham Panthers game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield.”
Fans have been sending thoughts and prayers to Johnson’s family, especially his fiancée. Ryan Wolfe was soon to be married to Johnson, writing on her Instagram story, “My sweet sweet angel. I’ll miss you forever and love you always.”
Petgrave is receiving hate for the freak accident
While individuals are sending love towards Johnson’s family and friends, Petergrave is receiving massive backlash and death notes for the accidental death.
Johnson’s teammate, Westin Michaud, went on to X to defend Petgrave. He stated, “I need to address something about the accident. We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave. 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.”
Michaud tweeted again, following up on his previous statement with, “The unintentional clip of the Panther’s players leg by the Sheffield player caused the somersault. It’s clear to me his actions were unintentional and anyone suggesting otherwise is mistaken. Let’s come together and not spread unwarranted hate to someone who needs our support.”
As the incident is still being investigated, The Elite Ice Hockey League put out a statement reading, “The thoughts of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad and difficult time.”
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