The fiancée of the hockey star who died in a horrific accident paid tribute to her “sweet, sweet angel” today, saying: “I will miss you forever and love you always.”
Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson was cut by an opponent’s skate blade during a game against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.
The 29-year-old briefly stood up, bleeding profusely on the ice, before collapsing again during the game in Sheffield. He received immediate medical attention, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on the ice and he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.
Now his girlfriend Ryan Wolfe has paid tribute on Instagram, posting a picture of him and saying: “My sweet, sweet angel. ‘I will miss you forever and love you always.’
Johnson, who was born in Minnesota, and Miss Wolfe got engaged in the summer and were living together in England, said his former college teammate Riley Tufte The athlete.
Miss Wolfe, originally from Oak Grove, Minnesota, was in the crowd and ran onto the ice after the incident before praying for Johnson, reports said The sun.
Johnson is survived by his father Davey, his mother Sue and an older brother, also named Ryan. A family friend added that his grandmother Marilyn was “his biggest fan.”
A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than £12,000 to raise funds for Johnson’s grieving family and has received more than 700 donations so far.
Ryan Wolfe and Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson at a family wedding in June 2022
Adam Johnson and Ryan Wolfe, pictured in July 2022, got engaged over the summer
Adam Johnson in action for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017
Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave (file image) collided with one of Johnson’s teammates, knocking him off balance, his leg lifting and making contact with Johnson’s neck
The tragedy has now led to demands that professional players wear neck protection – which is only mandatory for players under 20 in this country.
The tribute was posted by his Ryan Wolfe, the fiancée of Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson
There have already been two neck cutting incidents in the North American National Hockey League (NHL), but in both cases the players were saved through immediate treatment by medical professionals.
The incident occurred in the 35th minute of Saturday’s Elite Ice Hockey League game in front of 8,000 fans at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield. The game was later abandoned.
The footage showed Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave colliding with one of Johnson’s teammates, knocking him off balance and causing his leg to be lifted and contact Johnson’s neck.
Video of the incident showed Johnson standing up and blood spilling onto the ice. A referee and a teammate helped him as he left the rink, but he collapsed on the ice.
Peter Spencer, the BBC Radio Sheffield hockey reporter who was at the game, said the home team’s doctor and the Panthers’ physiotherapist were “right on the ice looking after him”.
They were joined by paramedics and two trauma nurses from the crowd. The players formed a protective shield to hide what was happening from the public.
Adam Johnson, seen seconds before the unusual incident at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield on Saturday
An ambulance outside the Utilita Arena in Sheffield on Saturday evening after the freak accident
A GoFundMe page was set up over the weekend to raise money for Johnson’s grieving family
The screens were then lowered to the ice but the medical team performed CPR before Johnson was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Mr Spencer added that hockey is “a fast and physical and sometimes brutal game” but it was “certainly like no incident I have ever experienced and hopefully I will never experience anything like it again”.
Caroline Crossland, a spectator at the game, commented on X: “I don’t even know how to feel or what to think after the terrible accident we saw tonight.”
Referring to the player whose skating caused the fatal injury, she added: “It was horrific to see him collapse from shock and trauma. I can’t imagine how he feels.”
One parent of a shocked fan said: “My 17 year old came home battered, he said he couldn’t forget what he saw tonight. “He’s white as a sheet. “My thoughts and prayers are with the teams involved.”
A Panthers spokesman said yesterday: “Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson tragically passed away during last night’s game in Sheffield.”
“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.”
“Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, particularly those who attended or watched the game and who will be devastated by today’s news.”
Fans of both teams left tributes for Adam Johnson at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield yesterday
Tributes to Adam Johnson were also left outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham
Fans laid flowers outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham yesterday after Johnson’s death
“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.
“We ask that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, and everyone at the club, be respected during this difficult time as we all attempt to process our grief.”
Yesterday’s three Elite League games in Belfast, Fife and Guildford were postponed following Johnson’s death, while Nottingham later confirmed via X that tomorrow’s home game against Glasgow Clan has also been postponed.
The statement said: “The club will provide updates on our website and social media regarding future matches and any ticket information for postponed matches as soon as possible.”
“We ask everyone for their understanding and patience with this news and ask fans to refrain from sending emails or contacting the club while our staff deal with today’s tragic news.”
Born in Minnesota, Johnson played for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League before spending the 2020-21 season in Sweden with the Malmo Redhawks.
The Penguins said in a statement: “The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life ended tragically far too soon.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to Adam’s family and friends, as well as all of Adam’s past and present teammates and coaches.”
Players and staff observed a minute’s silence for Adam Johnson at Hillsborough in Sheffield yesterday
“Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family.” “It was an honor watching him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”
The NHL also expressed its condolences. A statement said: “The National Hockey League family mourns the loss of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson. “Our prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and teammates.”
Johnson then played in the American Hockey League for the Ontario Reign and in Germany for the Augsburger Panthers before agreeing to move to Nottingham for the 2023-24 season.
A statement from the Elite Ice Hockey League said: “The Elite Ice Hockey League is heartbroken to confirm that Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson has sadly passed away following a freak accident during Saturday’s game between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.” the league said in a statement.
A video tribute to Adam Johnson before an Edmonton Oilers game yesterday in Alberta
“In light of this deeply disturbing news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled for Sunday, October 29, 2023.
“The thoughts and condolences of everyone involved with the EIHL go out to Adam’s family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad and difficult time.”
Sheffield said in his own statement: “Everyone at the Steelers extends our condolences to Adam Johnson’s partner, family and teammates.”
South Yorkshire Police said: “Our inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing.”