Hockey star who killed ex-NHL player in freak accident ‘absolutely devastated’

Sheffield Steelers ice hockey player Matt Petgrave is said to be “absolutely distraught” after accidentally being involved in the death of Adam Johnson, a center for the Nottingham Panthers.

Johnson died in what is being labeled as a “freak accident” during an Elite Ice Hockey League game against the Steelers. The incident occurred when Petgrave and Johnson collided with each other during a game on Saturday. Petgrave was knocked off balance, causing him to put his leg in the air which in return connected with Johnson’s neck.

Petgrave was said to be in shock after the traumatic event, visibly spotted crying at what transpired. Panthers fans in attendance ensured Petgrave that he was not at fault for the tragedy. However, the Canadian defender has since received abuse on social media.

Panthers supporter Tina Talor said that the freak accident had a “one in a million chance” occurrence rate and will probably never happen again. “He was distraught by the death of an opponent, but it was a tragic accident, and he was not to blame. The awful trolling must stop,” she stated.

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Another specator, Caroline Crossland, posted on X: “Don’t even know how to feel or what to think after the horrific accident we saw tonight.” On Petgrave, she added: “Watching him break with shock and trauma was horrific, I can’t imagine how he feels.”

In response to the medical emergency, game officials directed players to return to their locker rooms to allow ambulance services to attend to Johnson. At the time, two ambulances and a critical care paramedic were already present at the game.

Following the accident, the Panthers released a statement confirming Johnson’s passing. It read: “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.

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“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. Everyone at the club, including players, staff, management, and ownership, are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”

The Panthers refrained from disclosing additional information concerning the incident. They added their gratitude to fans, medical personnel, and all those present for their prompt compliance with instructions, enabling the delivery of optimal medical care.

Police say the investigation is ongoing. A spokesperson from South Yorkshire Police said: “Our officers remain at the scene carrying out inquiries and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing. We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our inquiries.”

Before joining the Panthers, Johnson had a two-year stint in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2018 to 2020. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $17,364 with an initial goal of $12,159. The campaign has received more than 833 donations and counting so far.

The campaign was initiated by an organizer named Laura Oates, who admitted having no relations to the actual family but vowed to give all proceeds to the family. Oates created the fundraiser for Johnson’s family and vehemently stated no intentions to benefit financially from the campaign.

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