Police in the United Kingdom arrested a man Tuesday “on suspicion of manslaughter” as they continue their investigation into hockey player Adam Johnson’s death. Johnson died on Oct. 28 after his throat was slashed by another player’s skate.
The South Yorkshire Police did not name the man they arrested in their statement.
“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,” Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in the statement.
Detectives spoke with “highly specialised experts in their field” for assistance during the investigation, the statement said.
What happened to Adam Johnson?
On Oct. 28, Johnson’s throat was slashed by Matt Petgrave’s skate during an Elite Ice Hockey League game between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers, the Deseret News previously reported.
Johnson, a 29-year-old Minnesota native who played 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins before moving to the U.K., got up off the ice after the incident while bleeding heavily but then collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and later died.
“A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury,” police said in their Tuesday statement.
Who was arrested?
Petgrave has received both public support and public criticism following what Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers have called a “freak accident.”
On Sunday, he received a standing ovation in his team’s first home game since the accident, BBC’s Peter Spencer reported.
Petgrave did not play in the game, but fans showed their support for him when his photo was shown on the video board.
Prior to the start of the game, a wreath was laid on the ice in honor of Johnson before a moment of silence, which was followed by applause and hockey stick taps, according to the BBC.
Westin Michaud, one of Johnson’s teammates who had a view “on the bench closest to the accident”, came to Petgrave’s defense on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I need to address something about the accident. We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave. The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for,” he wrote. “The unintentional clip of the Panther player’s leg by the Sheffield player caused the somersault. 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.”
Former Philadelphia Flyers player Chris Therien called Petgrave’s action “intentional” and said he was “sickened” in his posted on X.
The identity of the man in police custody has not been released, and police have urged the public to “refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder” the “professionalism, fairness and sensitivity” of the investigation.
After seeing the incident involving Adam Johnson, that Bush league needs to shut down for investigation immediately. I was literally appalled and sickened by what I saw. It looked intentional. It was a Kung fu kick. My eyes are not lying tell me I'm wrong— Chris Therien (@ctherien6) October 30, 2023
Are neck guards mandatory in the NHL?
Neck guards were not mandatory in the NHL at the time of Johnson’s death, and the league has yet to make them mandatory.
After Johnson’s death, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters that the team is mandating wrist and neck guards for its American League and East Coast League teams, the Deseret News previously reported.
Sullivan said the team “can’t do that at the NHL level, but we can certainly strongly encourage” players to wear the additional cut-resistant protection, such as wrist and neck guards.