Authorities in the U.K. have arrested a suspect in connection with the death of former NHL player Adam Johnson, who died last month after his neck was slashed by the skate of a rival athlete.
The South Yorkshire police on Tuesday confirmed its officers detained a male suspect, who is being held on suspicion of manslaughter. He has not been identified and no other details have been released.
Johnson, a native of Hibbing, Minn., and former Pittsburgh Penguin, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers when the deadly incident unfolded on Oct. 28. During the second period of the Elite Ice Hockey League game, Matt Petgrave, from Sheffield, collided with another player. The impact was enough to knock his feet out from under him and into the air.
Video taken from inside Sheffield’s Utilita Arena — packed at the time with some 8,000 fans — captured the terrifying moment the blades of Petgrave’s skates clip Johnson’s neck. He can be seen attempting to stand before falling back down onto the ice, which quickly becomes covered in blood.
An autopsy confirmed Johnson died as a result of a fatal neck injury. He was 29.
“Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances,” South Yorkshire Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in a statement.
“We have been speaking to highly [specialized] experts in their field to assist in our enquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.”
Following Johnson’s death, since described by the Panthers as a “freak accident,” there has been an increased call for a focus on ice hockey player safety, specifically on whether protective neck guards should be mandated.
“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world,” Horsfall said. “Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue.”