Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammates have paid an emotional tribute to the former ice hockey star in their first match since his tragic death.
Johnson, 29, died after an opponent’s skate severed his neck during a match in Sheffield on October 28. A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
The Panthers took to the ice at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday to stage a memorial match and ‘celebrate the life of Adam and the remarkable person he was’.
A tribute to Johnson was held before the match and the 10,000 spectators in the venue will rise to applaud in the 47th minute, a nod to Johnson’s number.
The crowd chanted Johnson’s name and clapped as both teams formed a circle around the center line. The players then hit the ice with their sticks.
A large sign above the rink proclaimed Johnson “Forever Our 47.”
It has been confirmed that the friendly against Manchester Storm will not count towards either team’s Elite Ice Hockey League results.
Johnson’s family watches their game from their home in Minnesota.
The man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been released on bail.
After the collision, Johnson was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.
South Yorkshire Police confirmed the arrest on Tuesday but said the next day the man had been released on bail. The investigation is still ongoing.
The Panthers next play their first Elite League match since Johnson’s death on November 26 against Belfast Giants at the Motorpoint Arena.
Omar Pacha, the club’s CEO, thanked supporters for their patience.
“We want to honor Adam and everything about who he was as a person and as a player,” he said.
“It will undoubtedly be an emotional evening, but also a special one as we come together to remember Adam, but this is also an important process in getting the team back on the ice.
‘Each player goes through his own process and there is no pressure on any player.’
Johnson previously played thirteen times for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL.
More to follow.
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