Nottingham Panthers, and the world of ice hockey as a whole, are in a state of both disbelief, and mourning this weekend, following the incident at the Sheffield Steelers – Nottingham Panthers Challenge Cup tie on Saturday night – it was an incident which eventually led to the passing, at just 29-years-old, of Panthers forward, Adam Johnson #47
The game itself, pre-abandonement, had seen the two rivals at 0-0 at the end of the first period, the Steelers took the lead through Brandon Whistle (24:18), with the Panthers levelling up shortly after through Mathieu Lemay (28:30); the Steelers re-took the lead through Patrick Watling (31:11) before the game came to a shuddering halt on 33:47 following an on-ice collision between opposing players – the Steelers were leading 2-1 at the time.
Not long after that the Panthers posted on their socials that: “Fans have been asked to leave the building due to a major medical emergency,” that which turned out to cost the life of the Panthers forward.
A statement released from the Panthers on Sunday (29 October 2023) morning read –
“The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night.
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.
Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.
Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news.
The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him. The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.
We ask that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, and everyone at the club is respected at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with our grief.
Rest in peace Adam.”
So, who was Adam Johnson?
Born in 1994, in Minnesota, USA, Johnson was a High School hockey player for his hometown Hibbing High between 2009 and 2013 before moving into the USHL (United States Hockey League) with the Indiana Ice, and the Sioux City Musketeers, his career starting to blossom.
Two seasons with the University of Minnesota-Duluth was followed by another two with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, affiliates to the NHLs Pittsburgh Penguins with whom he would eventually play for during the 2018-19 season.
During that season Johnson would play six times with two assists, going on to play the following season also, making seven further appearances, with one goal, one assist (13 appearances, one goal, three assists), before making the decision to move to Europe.
The 2020-21 season would see Johnson turn out for the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Hockey, prior to returning to America for spells with the Ontario Reign and Leigh Valley Phantoms.
Last year the Minnesota-native would decide to resume his ice hockey career in Europe and moved to Germany, and Augsburger Panther in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the forward amassing seven goals and fifteen assists in his 45 appearances for the club, moving to England, and the Nottingham Panthers, in the summer of 2023.
With four goals and three assists for the in-form Panthers, Johnson’s ice career in the East Midlands started off brightly indeed, however, the night of Saturday 28 October 2023 will now forever go down in sporting history as the night in which #47 skated for the last time.
Without doubt, Adam Johnson will be forever remembered by the Panthers Nation, as well as those clubs that came before him and we, here at the Nottingham Sport send our continued love, support, and condolences, to our friends at Panthers HQ, and to Adam Johnson’s family and friends.
RIP Adam Johnson #47
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @PanthersImages Adam Johnson will be ever-remembered by all associated with Nottingham Panthers.