Arrest Made in Connection With Former NHL Player Adam Johnson's Death

In October 2023, hockey Adam Johnson died after his neck was cut by a skate blade. On Nov. 14, 2023, a man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.


Nov. 15 2023, Updated 12:34 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • On Oct. 28, 2023, Adam Johnson, a former NHL player, died after his neck was cut during a game in the U.K.
  • His death has been described as a "freak accident," but one that is undoubtedly tragic.
  • On Nov. 14, a man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of Adam Johnson.
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Adam Johnson, a 29-year-old hockey player who had once played in the NHL, died following a game in the United Kingdom on Oct. 28, 2023. The news of his death has left many confused as tributes continue to pour in for the hockey player, who died as the result of a "freak accident" during a game.

Now, many want to better understand what happened to Adam that led to his death, and what his actual cause of death was.

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A moment of silence for Adam Johnson during a game between the Penguins and the Ducks on Oct. 30, 2023.
Source: Getty Images

A moment of silence for Adam Johnson during a game between the Penguins and the Ducks on Oct. 30, 2023.

What happened to hockey player Adam Johnson?

Adam was playing for the Nottingham Panthers in the U.K.'s Elite Ice Hockey League in a game against the Sheffield Steelers when a skate blade cut his throat. Following the injury, the Panthers tweeted out that the game had been paused due to a "bad injury," and then said that fans had been asked to leave the arena because of a "medical emergency." Following those reports, the Panthers released a statement announcing Adam's death.

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“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,” it read. "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.”

What was Adam Johnson's cause of death?

The team didn't share any details about what had happened to Adam, but on Nov. 14, 2023, the South Yorkshire Police Department said in a statement via BBC that an autopsy confirmed Adam died from a fatal neck injury.

Before Adam played in the U.K., he played as a forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2018 to 2020. Following the news of his death, they also released a statement about him.

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"The Pittsburgh Penguins join the entire hockey world in mourning the loss of Adam Johnson, whose life tragically ended far too soon," the statement 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 a part of the Penguins family. It was our honor to watch him fulfill his dream of playing in the National Hockey League."

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Adam was a Minnesota native who played hockey in college for the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Panthers have continued to pay tribute to Adam, and opened their next game with a moment of silence.

Police arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter in Adam's death.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, the South Yorkshire Police Department announced that they arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter in the tragic death of Adam Johnson. The unidentified man was released on bail Wednesday pending further inquiries.

"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," South Yorkshire Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said, per ESPN. "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."

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