A man who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson has been released on bail pending further inquiries. Johnson died on October 28 after being struck in the neck by an opponent’s skate during a match at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena. The 29-year-old American, playing for Nottingham Panthers against Sheffield Steelers, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
The arrested individual was released on bail to a date in the New Year, according to South Yorkshire Police, as investigations into the incident continue. Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall emphasized the ongoing extensive inquiries and collaboration with specialized experts and Sheffield City Council’s health and safety department.
Adam Johnson’s tragic death has had a profound impact on various communities, prompting a call for professionalism, fairness, and sensitivity in handling the investigation. An inquest into Johnson’s death was opened and adjourned on November 3, with Sheffield’s senior coroner, Tanyka Rawden, expressing concerns about future incidents. In a report to Ice Hockey UK and the English Ice Hockey Association, she urged the use of neck guards or protectors and set a 56-day deadline for actions taken or explanations for inaction.
While the English Ice Hockey Association plans to make neck guards mandatory from 2024, the Elite Ice Hockey League, where the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers compete, is not under its control. The Elite League, although not enforcing mandatory use of neck guards, has expressed a strong encouragement for players and officials to wear them.