Sheffield Steelers reflect on Adam Johnson's death in ITVX documentary

Sheffield Steelers players have told ITV News of the devastating impact of Adam Johnson's death during an ice hockey match.

Nottingham Panthers star Johnson, 29, died after his neck was cut by the skate of a Steelers player when the two teams faced each other in Sheffield on 28 October 2023.

A man who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter remains on police bail pending investigations.

Some of the Steelers' squad have now spoken to ITV News for a special documentary, called Steel, looking back at the season, which is available exclusively on ITV's streaming service ITVX.

Adam Johnson was 29 when he died following an incident during a game against Sheffield Steelers. Credit: Panther Images

Winger Daniel Ciampini said he considered quitting the game after Johnson's death.

"There was just that fear of 'that place isn't safe for me any more. That's not where I want to be, that's not a fun place'," he said.

He added: "That was our fun place, our sanctuary. When the world was collapsing, and everything else was going wrong the one sacred place and safe place was the rink. So for that moment or moments after it almost felt like that was taken away from us."

Coach Aaron Fox said: "Everyone mourned differently and some guys took longer than others and some guys picked others up."

He said it was a "tough time" but "the group came together the right way".

The death of Adam Johnson came after the Steelers lost one of their own teammates, Alex Graham, before the season began.

Speaking in the documentary, Fox said hearing the news "stopped time a little bit".

He said Graham had "potential through the roof".

He described Graham, saying: "6ft 3ins, played a heavy game, some of the nastiest hands and stick skills we've had in our group. He was one of those guys whose ceiling was one of the best Brits in the league."

Cole Shudra, a teammate and close friend of Graham, added: "That was probably one of the hardest moments I've had in my life. Alex was such a close friend. He was always laughing, always joking. He was such a big lad but he was a big teddy bear as well."

"He was like a brother."

Despite the tragedies, the Steelers went on to claim the "grand slam" of trophies - the Elite League title, Elite League play-offs and the Challenge Cup.

Shudra said: "To do something so special as go and win the grand slam – I'll never forget these guys for the rest of my life."

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