Man arrested over death of ice hockey player bailed by police

Adam Johnson died after suffering a neck injury caused by the skate of another player.

Man arrested over death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson bailed by police Getty Images

A man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Johnson died on October 28 after being hit in the neck by an opposition player’s skate during a match at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.

The 29-year-old American, who was playing for Nottingham Panthers against Sheffield Steelers, died in hospital.

The man was arrested on Tuesday and South Yorkshire Police confirmed on Wednesday he has been bailed to a date in the New Year as inquiries continue.

Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said on Tuesday: “Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive inquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.

“We have been speaking to highly specialised experts in their field to assist in our inquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.

“Adam’s death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world.

“We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process.

“Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as inquiries continue.”

An inquest into Mr Johnson’s death was opened and adjourned on November 3, but Sheffield’s senior coroner, Tanyka Rawden, has already called on the sport’s governing bodies to take action.

In a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to Ice Hockey UK and the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA), Ms Rawden said she is “sufficiently concerned that deaths may occur in the future if neck guards or protectors are not worn”, with the bodies given 56 days to say what action has been taken – or why action has not been taken.

The EIHA said neck guards will become mandatory from 2024 but the Elite League, in which the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers compete, is not under its control.

The Elite Ice Hockey League said it will not make the use of neck guards mandatory but will “strongly encourage” players and officials to wear them.

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