A man has been released on bail following his arrest on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson, South Yorkshire Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Johnson died after sustaining a cut to the neck in a collision with another player during the second period of the Nottingham Panthers’ game against the Sheffield Steelers in England on October 28.
A Sheffield coroner’s report found that the 29-year-old “sustained an incised wound to the neck caused by the skate of another player” and later died in hospital as a result of the injury.
“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,” detective chief superintendent Becs Horsfall said in a police statement on Tuesday.
“We have been speaking to highly specialised 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.”
In an update on Wednesday, police said that the man has been released on bail as the investigation continues.
Following Johnson’s death, which the Panthers described in a statement on October 29 as a “freak accident,” there has been increased focus on player safety in ice hockey, particularly on whether protective neck guards should be more widely worn.
“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world,” Horsfall said on Tuesday.
Born in Hibbing, Minnesota, Johnson started his professional career in the American Hockey League before progressing to the National Hockey League (NHL).
He featured in 13 games over two years for the Pittsburgh Penguins and also played in Sweden and Germany before joining the Panthers for the 2023-24 season.
In an online obituary, Johnson’s family remembered him as a “thoughtful, patient and genuinely authentic” person who “took pleasure in the small, everyday things.”
Members of the ice hockey community across the world have paid tribute to the forward, including in the city of Nottingham, where fans have laid flowers outside the Motorpoint Arena.
Police said on Tuesday that officers are supporting Johnson’s family while the investigation into his death remains ongoing.
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