Adam Johnson death sparks change from ice hockey chiefs with new rules announced

Adam Johnson death

Adam Johnson died at the age of 29 while playing ice hockey for the Nottingham Panthers

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 31/10/2023

- 12:54

The 29-year-old tragically died on Saturday

The English Ice Hockey Association have announced new rules following the tragic death of Adam Johnson on Saturday.

The 29-year-old died after appearing to sustain a cut to his neck following an attempted tackle from another player.

Nottingham Panthers have been left devastated by the death of Johnson, who had only become engaged with partner Ryan Wolfe back in the summer.

Tributes have flooded in from all corners of the sporting world in the time since.

Adam Johnson

Tributes have flooded in for Adam Johnson after his death at the age of 29


And the English Ice Hockey Association has now said it will be mandatory to wear a neck guard during 'all on-ice activities' from the start of 2024.

A statement 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 manufacturer's specification."

Johnson was just 29 when he died and had spells at Pittsburgh Penguins, Malmö Redhawks, Augsburger Panthers and Nottingham Panthers prior to his death.

He was raised in Minnesota and graduated from high school before playing junior hockey with the Indiana Ice and Sioux City Musketeers.

Reacting to his death, the Nottingham Panthers said Johnson had died as the result of a 'freak accident'.

“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," a statement read.

“The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.

“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.

“Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news.”

Panthers' assistant coach Kevin Moore reacted, too, by saying: “As time goes on we are going to heal, we are going to do that together.

“We are going to be strong and will continue that way and we will do you guys proud.

“We appreciate you coming here today and we thank you for all your support."

The Elite Ice Hockey League has confirmed the Panthers' next three games have been postponed after Johnson's death.

They announced the news in a statement that said: "The Elite League can confirm that games scheduled for both Tuesday and Wednesday will be postponed.

"Earlier today, the coaches of eight teams consulted with their players about what should happen next.


"These teams expressed their wish to return to playing Elite League fixtures this weekend.

"Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers will not return to the ice this weekend, and we would continue to ask everyone to support these clubs through what is an intensely difficult time.

"All games taking place this weekend will be organised with appropriate and fitting tributes to Adam Johnson.

"Please bear with us, as this needs to be an on-going process to ensure that all tributes have been agreed with those affected most deeply by what has happened.

"The Elite League will give further details of the planned tributes ahead of the weekend, and we hope that fans from around the league will feel able to come together to pay tribute to Adam as part of what is a very sad and difficult process for everyone."

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