NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) — American ice hockey player Adam Johnson, who appeared in 13 NHL games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 and 2020, has died after a skate blade injured his neck during a game in England on Saturday, officials said his team with . He was 29.
Johnson was playing for the Nottingham Panthers in a Challenge Cup game against the Sheffield Steelers when he suffered a skate cut during the second period of the Elite Ice Hockey League game at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.
“The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson tragically passed away during the game in Sheffield last night,” the team said on Sunday.
“The Panthers would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner and all of his friends at this extremely difficult time. Everyone at the club, including players, staff, management and owners, are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s death.
A Minnesota native, Johnson played 13 games for Pittsburgh in the NHL during parts of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons before spending the 2020-21 season in Sweden with the Malmo Redhawks. He scored one goal and three assists for the Penguins.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life ended tragically far too soon,” the Penguins said in a statement Sunday. “We extend 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 part of the Penguins family.”
Johnson played college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and helped the Bulldogs to two NCAA tournaments. In the 2017 tournament, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime, sending Minnesota-Duluth to the Frozen Four with a win over Boston University.
During his career, he also played for three American Hockey League clubs and in Germany with the Augsburger Panther in 2022/23 before agreeing to move to Nottingham for this season.
“Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, particularly those who attended or watched the match and who will be devastated by today’s news,” the team added.
“The Panthers would like to thank everyone who supported Adam last night in the most difficult of circumstances. Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible person who had his whole life ahead of him. The club will miss him dearly and never forget him.”
The league announced that all three games scheduled for Sunday in Belfast, Fife and Guildford had been postponed following Johnson’s death. The game in Nottingham scheduled for Tuesday has also been postponed.
Ian Laperriere, who coached Johnson with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, said it was difficult news.
“Great kid (and) teammate,” Laperriere said in a text message. “There are only good things to say about him.”
The NHL has had fears of skate cuts throughout its history, most notably Buffalo goaltender Clint Malarchuk, who suffered a knife wound to his neck during a game against St. Louis on March 22, 1989. Malarchuk received quick medical attention and played again ten days later.