Major update in the Adam Johnson investigation
The Sporting Den  

Major update in the Adam Johnson investigation

The former NHLer was killed in a “freak” accident in October.



That last we heard in the South Yorkshire Police's investigation into the death of Nottingham Panthers (EIHL) forward Adam Johnson, the police announced that they had arrested an unnamed man, presumed to be Sheffield Steelers forward Matt Petgrave, on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with Johnson's death during a game.

From the BBC:

A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson, whose neck was cut during a match.

The Nottingham Panthers player was injured by a skate in a match against Sheffield Steelers on 28 October.

The 29-year-old was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he died as a result of a fatal neck injury, South Yorkshire Police said.

The force said detectives arrested the suspect on Tuesday, adding that he remained in custody.

Days after the tragic incident police made an announcement that they would be investigating Johnson's death. Frankly, that didn't surprise me because I would expect an investigation in any death, accidental or otherwise. In fact, criminologist Dr. Victoria Silverwood has confirmed as much on social media and actually laid out the reasons specifically why Petgrave has been arrested.

Check out this very informative Twitter thread from Dr. Silverwood:

To me, it's pretty clear that what happened between Johnson and Petgrave was a horrible accident, but not everyone sees it that way. Hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals on social media have chimed in with opinions that what they think Petgrave did was intentional and that he purposefully tried to kick Johnson in the throat. While I still fail to see this tragedy as anything other than a horrible accident, I can accept that not everyone sees things my way. 

In fact, one of Petgrave's former coaches is speaking out in concern and he feels that what Petgrave did may be intentional due to his history.

Finn Elmo Aittola was an assistant coach with HK Spisska Nova Ves of the Slovak Extraliga, where Petgrave played 34 games in 2021-22 and it's clear that Petgrave did not leave a good impression on his Finnish assistant coach.

Here's what Aittola had to say about Petgrave to Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat:

"I coached Matt for a very short stint. I wanted to get rid of him immediately."

"I had a very negative impression of him. He has no respect for himself or his opponents."

"He used to get into a bit of a mess. He is a very dirty player."

"Ifthere's a player I'm willing to believe could use a skate to stop an opponent, I believe Matt Petgrave could do it. He's an extremely reckless player."

- Elmo Aittola

Wow! Tell us how you really feel, bud!

Honestly, that's a pretty damning assessment of Petgrave's character, but I'm not sure it sways my opinion on this matter.

Regardless of whose skate blade ended up striking Johnson and their on-ice past, I still think this is a freak accident. Without agonizing over the physics of the play that resulted in Johnson's death, I don't think this could have been done intentionally. Then again, I don't have a history with Petgrave like his former coach did. If nothing else, I'd imagine that these words will be scrutinized by investigators.

Today, the senior coroner in the case announced that he has suspended his inquiry into Johnson's death, citing the possibility of criminal charges from South Yorkshire Police.

From The Sporting Den:

The inquiry into the death of former NHL and Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson has been temporarily suspended by the senior coroner overseeing the case, Tanyka Rawden. The pause in proceedings, scheduled until July 26, is based on the potential filing of charges against the individual arrested in connection with Johnson’s death. The “freak accident” occurred during a Challenge Cup match against the Sheffield Steelers on Oct. 28, leading to an investigation by South Yorkshire Police (SYP). The arrested person, initially taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter, has been released on police bail pending further inquiries. Rawden, citing Paragraph 1(2)(a) of Schedule 1 to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, explained that the decision to suspend the investigation is contingent on the possibility of impending criminal charges.

Honestly, I'm not going to pretend that I know exactly what this means in the grand scheme of things but my suspicion is that there may be charges coming down against Petgrave. Stay tuned, if in fact he's charged with manslaughter or some other form violent crime this could have enormous ramifications on the hockey world and in professional sports in general.

Source: The Sporting Den