Adam Johnson, a native of Hibbing, played two seasons for UMD and eventually played in 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Johnson, 29, passed away after suffering a neck injury Saturday while playing for the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite Ice Hockey League in England. PHOTO COURTESY OF UMD ATHLETICS

Former Hibbing and UMD standout suffered

tragic injury during game in England

The hockey world learned Sunday morning that Adam Johnson, a former University of Minnesota-Duluth player and graduate of Hibbing High School, died following an injury suffered on the ice while playing overseas for the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday night.

Johnson, 29, was carrying the puck just inside the Sheffield Steelers blueline when a Sheffield player lost his footing and his skate blade made contact with Johnson’s neck. Play was immediately stopped and players sent to their locker rooms. Fans were escorted out of the building as Johnson was treated on the ice by medical professionals. It was announced early Sunday morning by the Nottingham Panthers that Johnson passed away from his injury.

“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,” The Panthers said in a statement. “The Panthers would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.”

Adam Johnson was in his first season with Nottingham in the Elite Ice Hockey League in England.

Johnson was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 2013 playing for Hibbing-Chisholm. He went on to play two seasons for Sioux City in the USHL before attending the University of Minnesota Duluth. He went undrafted, but played in the American Hockey League for the Pittsburgh Penguins Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minor league squad. He played six games with the NHL’s Penguins in 2018-19 and recorded two assists. The following season he played in seven games with the big club and recorded a goal and an assist. He toiled in the AHL until last season when he played for the Augsburger Panther in the Deutsch League in Germany. He joined the Nottingham team this season in the Elite Ice Hockey League in England.

More than 8,000 fans were in attendance at the Nottingham game when Johnson was injured.

“Everyone at the club, including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing,” The Panthers’ statement said. “Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or who were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news.”

The Panthers thanked medical staff and team personnel who rushed to Adam’s aid after the injury occurred calling it the “most testing circumstances.”

They described Adam as a great teammate.

“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 in front of him. The club will dearly miss him and will never forget him.”

The club asked for privacy for Adam’s family and friends and the club “at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with our grief.”

All Sunday games in the Elite Hockey League were suspended in the wake of Adam’s injury and passing.

The University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s hockey staff issued the following statement:

“We are deeply devastated to learn last evening of the passing of Adam Johnson. Adam was loved and admired by his teammates, coaches, and staff. As talented as he was on the ice, he was even a better person. Adam remained connected to the program, and for our time with him we are eternally grateful. Adam, we love you, we will miss you.”