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Man arrested in the skate death of former NHL player Adam Johnson is released on bail

Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Adam Johnson in action during an NHL game in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017. Police in England arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter in connection to Johnson's death in October.
Paul Vernon
/
AP
Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Adam Johnson in action during an NHL game in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017. Police in England arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter in connection to Johnson's death in October.

Updated November 15, 2023 at 10:35 AM ET

Police in South Yorkshire, England, say they have made an arrest in connection with the death of Adam Johnson, a professional hockey player who died last month after his neck was slashed by the blade of a skate during a game.

The man, who authorities have not named, was charged with suspicion of manslaughter and was released on bail. "Our investigation continues and we will provide further updates as and when we can," the South Yorkshire Police said on Wednesday.

Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall in an earlier statement on Tuesday that the investigation "launched immediately following this tragedy and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances."

Johnson and the Nottingham Panthers were about halfway through the second period of a game against the Sheffield Steelers on Oct. 28 when Johnson and an opposing player collided, and the other player's skate struck Johnson in the neck. Officials emptied the arena as medical personnel responded to the scene.

Johnson, a Minnesota native and former Pittsburgh Penguins player, was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead. He was 29.

The Panthers called Johnson's death a "freak accident." The tragedy prompted the English Ice Hockey Association, the sport's governing body in the country, to make neck guards mandatory starting in 2024. The equipment is usually reserved for amateurs, but there has beenincreased demand for them in the aftermath of Johnson's death.

"Adam's death has sent shockwaves through many communities, from our local residents here in Sheffield to ice hockey fans across the world," the South Yorkshire Police said.

"We know these communities will expect us to handle this investigation with the same professionalism, fairness and sensitivity as any other and request that members of the public refrain from comment and speculation which could hinder this process. Our thoughts remain with all affected by this devastating incident as enquiries continue."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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