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  • Cooper Burke

Player Arrested Over Former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson’s Death

In a stunning turn, an arrest has been made in connection with the death of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson. South Yorkshire Police have said that a man has been arrested for manslaughter in relation to Johnson’s death, but have not named a suspect.

Johnson was playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League for the Nottingham Panthers when he tragically passed away during a game.

During the game on October 28, Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave appeared to raise his skate, which cut Johnson across the neck and caused him to suffer a massive arterial bleed. Unfortunately, Johnson passed away on the rink. Johnson was laid to rest in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota.

South Yorkshire police have released a statement, saying: "Detectives have today arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter. He remains in police custody at this time."

“Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances,” South Yorkshire detective chief superintendent Becs Horsfall said.

“We have been speaking to highly specialized experts in their field to assist in our enquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.”

"We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process. Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue,” Horsfall said.

Johnson was a Hibbing native who appeared in 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring one goal. He found sustained success in his time over in Europe, scoring seven goals and 12 points in 21 games for the Malmö Redhawks, but opted to return to the US.

Johnson did play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in 2022-23, but his team faced relegation at the end of the season despite his 22 points in 45 games.

After Johnson’s death, many leagues mandated neck guards, including all Canadian major junior leagues. Players continue to advocate across the leagues for neck guards, and several stars including TJ Oshie and Ryan Graves have worn them either in practice or in games.

The NCAA Rules committee has a call scheduled in November to determine the future of neck guards in collegiate hockey.

As always, prayers and support go out to Johnson and his family and friends in this difficult time.

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