Police in England arrest man on suspicion of manslaughter after death of ex-NHL player

Police in England say they have made an arrest in the death of hockey player Adam Johnson.

South Yorkshire Police said in a statement Tuesday a man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and is in police custody.

The release did not name the suspect, but the player who cut Johnson’s neck with his skate blade was Matt Petgrave, 31, who plays for Sheffield.

Johnson, a forward for the Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League, was injured during an Oct. 28 game against the Steelers.

Video of the incident shows Johnson skating with the puck toward the Steelers net. Petgrave skates toward Johnson and collides with another Panthers player. Petgrave’s left skate kicks up as he begins to fall and the blade hits Johnson in the neck.

Both players land on the ice. Petgrave immediately got to his feet. Johnson rose more slowly and as he is helped off the ice, his jersey is covered in blood. He later died at a local hospital.

“Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive inquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances,” Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said.

The 29-year-old Johnson, a native of Grand Rapids, Minn., appeared in 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 and 2020.

The English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the sport below the Elite League, reacted to Johnson’s death by requiring all players in England to wear neck guards from the start of 2024.

Messages sent to Johnson’s agent and a friend of the family seeking comment were not immediately returned.

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