Police in the U.K. arrested a man Tuesday for his involvement in the death of American professional hockey player Adam Johnson, after Johnson’s neck was cut by the blade of a hockey skate and he bled out on the ice last month.
Police arrested the suspect, who they did not name, on suspicion of manslaughter, South Yorkshire Police Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in a press release Tuesday.
The suspect remains in police custody, Horsfall said.
Horsfall said police have been working with “highly specialized” experts to “piece together” the events that led to Johnson’s death in “these unprecedented circumstances.”
Johnson—a 29-year-old American playing hockey in the U.K.—died during an October 28 hockey match where his Nottingham Panthers were playing the Sheffield Steelers. During the game, Johnson’s neck was cut by the blade of another player’s skate. Players surrounded Johnson as medical staff attempted to save him but he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police. South Yorkshire Police said a post-mortem examination showed Johnson died as a result of a “fatal neck injury.”
In the wake of Johnson’s death, the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League affiliates of the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they would mandate that players wear neck guards, the Associated Press reported. The English Hockey Association, where Johnson was playing at the time of his death, said it would mandate neck guards beginning January 1.
Neck guards are not mandatory in the National Hockey League, despite skate-related neck cuts being relatively common, the AP reported earlier this month after Johnson’s death. Johnson’s cause of death is not an isolated incident. Last year, a Connecticut prep school player died after being cut on the neck by another player’s skate. Some ten years ago NHL player Erik Karlsson had his Achilles tendon cut by the skate of another player. Another NHL player, Evander Kane, had his wrist cut by a blade last year.
Death Of A Player From A Skate To The Neck Reignites Hockey’s Stubborn Debate Over Protective Gear (Associated Press)