Adam Johnson: Coroner calls for ice hockey neck guards to be mandatory after player killed by skate | The Sun
A CORONER has called for neck guards to become mandatory after a player was killed when he was slashed in the throat by a skate.
Nottingham Panthers legend Adam Johnson sadly lost his life on Saturday, October 28, after a fatal clash with Sheffield Steelers team member Mat Petgrave.
Utilita Arena Sheffield was packed with 8,000 horrified visitors who saw glimpses of the "freak accident" before players huddled around Adam and he was raced to hospital.
The much-loved family man was pronounced dead shortly afterwards – with the coroner reviewing his case now calling for ice hockey player neck guards.
Coroner Tanyka Rawden has written a prevention of future deaths report amid growing concerns there will be more tragedies.
"In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken," wrote the coroner in her report.
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"In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you."
Despite the ripple effects of Adam's death being felt by heartbroken family members to thousands of fans, the UK's top ice hockey division have refused to make extra protection mandatory.
The Elite Ice Hockey League, EIHL, will now "strongly encourage" players to wear neck guards, but Coroner Rawden did not feel this was enough.
Meanwhile, the English Ice Hockey Association claimed the governing body would be making the potentially life-saving kit a non-negotiable.
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Coroner Rawden is set to outline in her report whether Adam's death could have been prevented by neck protection.
"At this stage in my investigation however, I am sufficiently concerned that deaths may occur in the future if neck guards or protectors are not worn," she added.
"In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action."
Her concerning report has been sent to Ice Hockey UK and English Ice Hockey Association Limited.
The companies will have 56 days to respond.
'OUR SWEET ADAM'
The coroner's report follows heartbreaking tributes being paid by Adam Johnson's mum and dad at the Nottingham Panther star's funeral.
The grief-stricken family laid him to rest in his home town on Sunday.
They held a private ceremony in Hibbing, Minnesota, US before a "celebration of life" which took place on Monday.
Adam's grief-stricken parents, Davey and Sue, shared an obituary in their son's honour which read: "He was many things to many people, but to those who were lucky enough to be loved by Adam knew he was thoughtful, patient and genuinely authentic.
"He loved his fiancée, family, and friends above all else. His loving and quiet demeanor will be eternally missed.
"Adam had a quiet confidence about him and was never boastful.
"He was never looking to be the center of attention, but rather he preferred to listen to others and do what he could to make them feel important."
Adam's fiancee, Ryan Wolfe, added a tribute on social media and wrote: "Our sweet Adam, we miss you so much."
A heartbroken Ryan was also mentioned in Davey and Sue's obituary.
"Adam especially enjoyed his quiet coffee time with his fiancée Ryan, dreaming about their future, and taking in the mornings together," they continued.
"Adam loved to live a slower life and took pleasure in the small, everyday things.
"Simple pleasures Adam enjoyed were manually grinding his coffee beans, seeing the colors of each sunset, sitting lakeside by a bonfire with a glass of his favorite red wine, and trying out new dinner recipes.
"He loved to be out pontooning with his future in-laws on Swan lake, making memories at the Pig's Eye, and family get-togethers."
The devastated parents also shared the close connection and "unbreakable bond" Adam had with his brother.
"Ryan always supported his little brother's ideas no matter how far fetched they were. Adam knew that if there was anything in life he ever needed, Ryan was always there," they added.
Adam's love for family was evident as they went on to describe the ice hockey player's investment in his nephew's life.
They described they young boy as their son's "number one fan" in their touching tribute.
Davey and Sue continued: "Adam's heart was so filled with love between the two of them, and he never fell short of growing his bond with each one.
"From endless laughs wrestling at Nana's, to trips to Arizona, to hours of facetiming when he was away, they were two of the brightest lights in Adam's life that could truly never be dimmed."
'OUR NUMBER 47'
Panthers fans gathered at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday to remember Adam.
Thousands lay floral tributes outside and a book of condolence was opened for fans to sign on the ice.
On Monday, Omar Pacha, chief executive of The Panthers, praised the much-loved player.
He said: "I'd often bump into Adam at the rink or at a game and every time I'd see him I would check 'How's everything Adam'.
"The response was always the same, 'All good Omar. Great group of guys and I'm really enjoying it here' and a big smile.
"And I will never, ever forget two words he would always finish every conversation with everyone at the area – 'Thank you'.
"Always humble, always polite, always grateful, that was our number 47."
Meanwhile, one of Adam's teammates has relived the "traumatising" moment the ice hockey star died.
Fellow Nottingham Panthers player, Victor Björkung, was on the ice when his friend suffered the fatal gash to his neck.
He said: "I have tried to suppress a lot – you are so shocked at the moment, everything goes so damn fast.
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"One moment you have your friend there, the next second he's gone."
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