Following the tragic death of Adam Johnson at the age of 29 on Saturday, an English hockey team has introduced compulsory neck protection for all players and coaches.
Nottingham Panthers star Johnson was cut by an opponent’s skate blade during a game against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.
His injury was so terrible that the game had to be abandoned, reducing the traumatized fans to tears.
The shocking incident has led to calls for mandatory neck protection to be introduced in hockey.
The Oxford City Stars, who play in the National Ice Hockey League South Division 1 and have former Arsenal and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech in their squad, announced on Monday that they would make neck guards mandatory in response to the tragic accident .
Nottingham Panthers hockey player Adam Johnson died after a “freak accident” during a game against the Sheffield Steelers
Johnson (pictured) suffered a horrific injury in a freak accident during a game on Saturday
It is believed that the American athlete was caught in the neck by a hockey stick. Pictured: Moments before the tragedy
Oxford City Stars announced on Monday that they would be introducing compulsory neck protection in response to the tragic accident
Adam Johnson’s fiancé Ryan Wolfe posted a picture of them at a family wedding in June 2022 with the caption: “I will miss you forever and love you always.”
“These guards will be a non-negotiable part of their attire at all training and games, providing additional protection,” the club said in a statement.
“This commitment is a moving tribute to Adam Johnson and represents not only a significant moment for Oxford City Stars, but also a cornerstone of the commitment to improved safety standards across the sport.”
“We encourage other clubs to also offer these neck protectors to their players.” “At our level of play, we strongly believe that these protections should be worn by all players.”
Oxford City Stars head of ice hockey Shane Moore said: “This decision underlines our commitment to player safety.”
“We want to ensure that every possible measure is taken to protect our athletes while they do what they love.”
“Safety must be a fundamental aspect of what we do and we are grateful to all of our players and coaches for their support in advancing this initiative.” We hope to serve as positive role models for both current and future players and demonstrate that Safety should always be a top priority.
“Tragically, a freak accident has taken a life far too early and if wearing neck braces can prevent another devastating loss then we want to ensure we have done everything we can to protect our players .”
Germany’s top ice hockey league is also considering introducing compulsory neck protection.
The game operations manager of the German Ice Hockey League, Jörg van Ameln, told the German newspaper Picture: “At our meeting of the clubs’ sporting directors on November 27th, we will talk about the planned introduction of a neck brace for the new season.”
“This is mandatory in Finland and Sweden.”
Several major leagues currently do not require players to wear neck protection.
There were numerous tributes to Johnson, who was born in Minnesota, after his shock death. His girlfriend Ryan Wolfe paid tribute on Instagram, posting a picture of him and saying, “My sweet, sweet angel. ‘I will miss you forever and love you always.’
“Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson tragically passed away during the game in Sheffield last night,” his club said in a statement.
Johnson (pictured) is believed to have been hit in the neck with a hockey stick during the game
The incident took place at the Utilita Arena Sheffield (pictured) and is believed to have been witnessed by around 8,000 fans
His club said it was “truly devastated” by the news – paying tribute to “a great teammate and an incredible human being who has his whole life ahead of him.”
The Elite Ice Hockey League said it was “heartbroken” as it confirmed the “deeply disturbing” news – and postponed all games scheduled for 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.”
They added that their thoughts were not only with those closest to the athlete, but also with the fans and staff who witnessed the incident.
The club also thanked the people who rushed to rescue him after the horrific incident.
They continued: “Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible human being who had his whole life ahead of him.”
A witness told MailOnline that Johnson tried to return to his team after the neck injury but collapsed before he could, leading to panicked scenes as players and paramedics rushed to help the stricken star.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service said they were called at around 8.21pm before sending two ambulances and an intensive care paramedic – one man was taken to hospital.
Four minutes later, South Yorkshire Police were contacted and confirmed he was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Police officers remain at the scene and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The Elite Ice Hockey League said it was “heartbroken” as it confirmed the “deeply disturbing” news before postponing all games scheduled to take place on Sunday.
Ice Hockey UK, the sport’s governing body in the country, said: “Ice Hockey UK would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and teammates of Nottingham Panthers striker Adam Johnson, who passed away last night.”
“The hockey family stands with his family – and each other – during this difficult time.”
Johnson previously played 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League before moving to the Swedish Hockey League prior to the 2020-21 season.
Ice Hockey UK added that the hockey family “stands together” as they mourn Mr Johnson
The freak accident was apparently caused by a Sheffield Steelers player as he attempted to attack another of Johnson’s team-mates
He then played for the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League and also worked for the Augsburger Panthers in Germany.
Johnson signed with the Nottingham Panthers in August
Johnson’s former club, the Pittsburgh Penguins, said: “Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family.” “It was an honor to watch him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”
The NHL also recognized the 29-year-old. “Our prayers and deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and teammates,” they said.