Tributes paid in first Panthers game since player’s death

Ice hockey players and fans have paid tribute to the late Adam Johnson at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.

The 29-year-old American died after his neck was cut by a skate while playing for Nottingham Panthers away to Sheffield Steelers on 28 October.

That game was abandoned and the Panthers played their first game since the incident on Saturday.

A sell-out crowd gathered for the Adam Johnson Memorial Game, with Manchester Storm providing the opposition.

Fans continued to lay flowers and offerings in tribute outside the arena for Johnson, who had a spell with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL and joined the Panthers in August, before the 2023-24 season.

The crowd of about 10,000 chanted Johnson’s name as the players took to the ice. The players then gathered in the centre and as the arena lights faded, a picture of Johnson was displayed on the main scoreboard above the rink.

During the pre-game ceremony, there was applause from the crowd while the players tapped their sticks on the ice, and the spectators rose to offer a minute’s applause after 47 minutes. The Panthers are retiring Johnson’s jersey number – 47.

Players on both teams wore memorial jerseys bearing Johnson’s name and number, which will be raffled. Other memorial merchandise was available, with all profits being donated to the ‘Love for Hibbing & Hockey Memorial Fund’, which was established to support charitable causes in Johnson’s hometown area of Hibbing, Minnesota.

The Panthers will return to competitive action with an Elite League game at home to Belfast Giants on 26 November.

A scoreboard at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena paying tribute to Adam Johnson
Fans pay tribute to Adam Johnson
Fans pay tribute to Adam Johnson
Floral tributes to Adam Johnson outside Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena
Floral tributes to Adam Johnson outside Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena
Players pay tribute to Adam Johnson
Didrik Henbrant celebrates scoring the Nottingham Panthers' third goal during the Adam Johnson Memorial Game in Nottingham
Nottingham Panthers' Didrik Henbrant takes on Manchester Storm goaltender Alexander Oldale during the Adam Johnson Memorial Game at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena

Source: BBC