Adam Johnson: Nottingham Panthers teammate defends Sheffield Steelers player after tragedy

credit must read: PANTHERs IMAGES
Adam Johnson suffered the fatal injury while playing against the Sheffield Steelers. Credit: Panthers Images

A teammate of ice hockey player Adam Johnson has called for an end to the "hate" directed at the opponent involved in the collision which killed him.

Johnson, 29, was playing for Nottingham Panthers when he suffered a cut to the neck in a "freak accident" against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.

He died the following day.

The incident has led to a huge outpouring of grief and shock across the sport.

South Yorkshire Police say they are investigating the circumstances of Johnson's death, but have urged the public to avoid speculation about what happened.

Fellow Panthers player Westin Michaud has now taken to social media to defend the Steelers' Matt Petgrave, whose skate caught Johnson when they collided.

The American forward said 31-year old Petgrave should not be held responsible.

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Michaud said: "We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave.

"The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for. I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident, I saw both players moving fast."He added: "It's clear to me his actions were unintentional and anyone suggesting otherwise is mistaken. Let's come together and not spread unwarranted hate to someone who needs our support."

Johnson was born in Minnesota and was playing his first season for the Panthers. In a club statement, Nottingham Panthers described him as "an incredible person".

The Elite Ice Hockey League, in which Johnson played, has suspended midweek fixtures. The Steelers and the Panthers will not take to the ice next weekend when other teams resume their games.

The English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the lower leagues of the game, has announced that neck guards will be mandatory for all players from next year.

The Elite league is understood to be discussing similar steps.

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