Adam Johnson: Nottingham Panthers ice hockey player's death in Sheffield Steelers game after 'neck slashing' sees mandatory equipment introduced
Adam Johnson's tragic death has seen a big change introduced by the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA)
and live on Freeview channel 276
An ice hockey player's tragic death on the ice after a "freak accident" has prompted big changes in the UK for the sport. Adam Johnson, 29, died on October 28 while playing for the Nottingham Panthers following a collision that reportedly resulted in a slash to his neck and throat.
The incident occurred at the Sheffield Arena in front of horrified fans and the former NHL player was pronounced dead shortly after in hospital. Tributes have been paid across the globe and now rules are being changed to avoid a repeat incident.
Following calls from fans and petitions online, the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) has announced that it will now be mandatory to wear a neck guard during "all on-ice activities" from the start of 2024. The sport's governing body in England and Wales oversees around 400 teams at junior and senior levels.
It still remains to be seen if the UK's top league - the Elite Ice Hockey League - will introduce mandatory rules too.
While the mandatory rules will come into place from the new year, 'strong recommendations' have also been put in place for all players to wear a neck guard before then when on the ice. Before Adam Johnson's death, only players under the age of 20 had to wear a neck guard. A statement from the EIHA read: "The EIHA makes a 'strong recommendation' that all players at all levels across English ice hockey use an approved ice hockey neck guard/protector whilst participating in all on-ice activities. This 'strong recommendation' is in place until 31 December 2023, after which it will become a mandatory requirement.
"It is not mandatory with immediate effect due to anticipated supply issues. This will be under constant review between now and mandatory implementation. All protective equipment must be worn without alterations and as directed by the manufacturers' specification."
Tributes have been laid at the Sheffield arena this week to remember Adam Johnson who played 13 games in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said: "He's just a great guy, great teammate. An awesome attitude when he was here and was just generally happy to be playing in the NHL. It's heartbreaking that that's happened."
A statement from the Nottingham Panthers read: “The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield."