‘Freak accident’: American hockey player Adam Johnson dies during game in England

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 25: Adam Johnson #47 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 25, 2019 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NOTTINGHAM, England — American hockey player Adam Johnson died after a “freak accident” Saturday during a game in England.

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Minnesota native Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers during a Challenge Cup game against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson was slashed in the neck during the second period, the AP reported.

The Nottingham Panthers released a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying that the team is “truly devastated” after Johnson’s death.

“Adam Johnson tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night,” the team said. “The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.”

Johnson played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 13 games over the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons in the National Hockey League, according to the AP. He played in Sweden for the Malmo Redhawks for the 2020-2021 season.

Johnson played for three American Hockey League clubs in Germany for the Augsburg Panthers in 2022-2023, the AP reported. He then joined the Nottingham for the 2023-2024 campaign.

The Penguins released a statement Sunday morning on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the life of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon,” the team said. “We offer 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.”

The United Kingdom Elite League announced that following Johnson’s death, three games that were scheduled for Sunday in Belfast, Fife and Guildford have been postponed, the AP said.