An opponent’s skate during a Nottingham Panthers vs. Sheffield Steelers Elite Ice Hockey League game last month killed Minnesota native Adam Johnson. An arrest has been made by English police in relation to his death.
Tuesday, 17 days after the incident, the arrest was made public, but South Yorkshire Police withheld the identity of the person being held. The police department said in a press release that they had “arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter.”
It is believed that the person in custody is Matt Petgrave, a hockey player from Sheffield, whose skate hit Johnson in the neck on October 28.
In graphic footage from the performance, Johnson was seen falling to the ice and then trying to skate, holding his neck, to the bench. Johnson was taken to a hospital, where he was later declared dead, and blood was found all over the ice.
“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 Police Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in the release.
“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.
“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world. We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process. Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.”
Johnson, 29, was a standout hockey player in high school while growing up in Hibbing, Minnesota. Before moving to play in Europe, he spent two years playing hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He then went on to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins in both the NHL and the AHL.