Following the death of a former NHL player as a result of an accident in England, a South Island hockey team is requiring its players to wear neck guards.
Adam Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers on Oct. 28 when a player on the opposing team’s skate hit his neck during the second period.
“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,” Nottingham Panthers said in a statement on Facebook.
“Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him. The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.”
Now, the Saanich Predators have announced it will require all of its players to wear neck guards.
“In light of the tragic loss of Adam Johnson…we feel this is the respectful and responsible thing to do, not only for our players but for all hockey families who are saddened by this terrible loss,” says Norm Kelly, co-owner of the Predators in a statement.
“The Predator family joins the entire hockey world in mourning the sudden passing of Adam. We offer our deepest condolences to the Johnson family, his friends and teammates during this terribly difficult time.”
The team says to ensure compliance, the owners will be purchasing the neck guards for all the team members.
The statement says coaching staff will ensure every player is wearing a neck guard for its next game on Friday.
South Yorkshire Police say it is investigating the death of Johnson.
“Since Saturday, detectives have been carrying out a range of enquiries including reviewing footage, talking to witnesses and seeking the advice and support of highly specialised experts to seek to understand the circumstances surrounding what happened,” police said in a statement.
“We have also been working closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our investigation.”
Police say it is standard practice with all unexpected and sudden deaths to investigate the circumstances and report findings to the coroner. While officers have left the scene, police say the investigation is expected to take “some time.”
“We continue to encourage the public to avoid speculation, including on social media, while we continue our enquiries and will provide updates when appropriate,” the statement says. “Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of all those affected.”