Adam Johnson death: Ice hockey fans want special guards to be worn as player dies after his neck is 'slashed'
Following Adam Johnson's tragic death, an online petition is calling for a neck and throat guard mandate
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The ice hockey world is still in mourning today following the death of 29-year-old former National Hockey League (NHL) player Adam Johnson in a 'freak accident'. The American ice hockey player died playing for Nottingham Panthers following an on-ice collision that is widely reported to have resulted in a slash to his neck and throat.
The incident at Sheffield Arena on October 28 - a match that usually sees the two rival teams compete fiercely - was eventually abandoned after players formed a circle around the injured player.
Adam Johnson's death has once again raised questions about safety in ice hockey - particularly the debate around the wearing of neck/ throat guards in the sport to avoid such incidents occurring.
The English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) in-house rules from 2019-2020 state that any player/goalie under the age of 18 on the day of a game must wear a throat protector, but another online source states that as of February 2023, all players under 20 must wear a neck guard. There are no rules for older ice hockey players in the UK to do so and there are no rules for players in the NHL to do so.
But there is now a growing voice within the fanbase and youth system to have neck guards be made compulsory. An online petition set up on October 29 in the wake of Adam Johnson's death already has more than 3,700 signatures at the time of writing.
Speaking about the petition online, one social media user said: "As an ice hockey dad, the passing of Adam Johnson highlights to me the importance of neck guards when my son is playing. Please sign this petition to help push for the mandatory use of neck guards at all levels of the sport."
Another ice hockey fan online added: "Such a sad day for Ice hockey. Absolutely horrific and something you never think of happening at such an enjoyable event. Hoping they'll make neck guards compulsory. RIP Adam Johnson, a life gone far too soon." Christian Bennett, a Guardian journalist at the match, said: “Two players blindsided each other, just bumped into each other.
“The Sheffield player clearly got knocked off his feet and his skate went up and slit [the other player’s] throat. I’ve never seen that amount of blood come out of anyone at any sort of pace. It is one of the grimmest things I’ve ever seen at a sports event.”
Nottingham Panthers have since confirmed Johnson's death. A statement from the team said: “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."
Barrie Archer, chair of the EIHA, said: “The entire EIHA is heartbroken and deeply saddened by Adam’s passing. This is a tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to Adam’s family, friends and ice hockey family at this difficult time.”
It remains to be seen whether added provisions will be put in place following Adam Johnson's death.