The world of ice hockey is in mourning after Nottingham Panthers star, Adam Johnson, tragically died following a horrific injury during a match against Sheffield Steelers in the Challenge Cup.
The 29 year old was fatally injured by a skate blade in a freak mid-ice collision, collapsing on the ice and receiving immediate medical attention.
A statement from the Panthers 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."
The statement continued: "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."
The Elite League said in a statement: "In light of this deeply upsetting news, the Elite League has postponed all games scheduled to take place on Sunday 29 October 2023. The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam's family, friends and team mates at this incredibly sad and difficult time.
"We would also ask everyone to respect the privacy of Adam's family at this time. Many of us will have found Saturday's events very distressing. Please take care of yourselves and each other."
The Sheffield Steelers tweeted: "Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson's partner, family and team mates." Elite League side Belfast Giants wrote: "Our thoughts and prayers are with @PanthersIHC player, #47 Adam Johnson and the whole EIHL hockey family during this time."
Eye witnesses say players from both teams formed a human shield around him, while screens were also erected. The crowd, believed to be around 8,000, were asked to immediately leave the Sheffield Arena and the match was abandoned. Johnson was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, but it has now been announced he has passed away.
He joined the Panthers for the 2023/24 season having previously starred in North America, including 13 games for NHL side Pittsburgh Penguins.
Journalist Peter Spencer posted from the match: "Nottingham Panthers player badly hurt after a collision in mid-ice. Paramedics are now on the ice, players are forming a ring around him and now screens are up around him. Awful scenes here at Sheffield Arena."
The two clubs are considered the biggest in British football and have what many believe to be the most intense rivalry. The Challenge Cup is a competition that runs alongside the Elite League, which includes teams from all four corners of the UK.
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