- Adam Johnson tragically died after an opposing player’s skate slashed his neck
- A number of his former team-mates wore neck guards for the friendly match
- Thousands of spectators also rose to applause Johnson during the 47th minute
Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers team-mates have paid an emotional tribute to the former ice hockey star in their first match since his tragic death.
Johnson, 29, died after an opposing player’s skate slashed his neck during a game in Sheffield on October 28. A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
The Panthers took to the ice at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday to stage a memorial game and ‘celebrate the life of Adam and the remarkable person he was’.
A tribute to Johnson was held before the game and the 10,000 spectators inside the venue rose to applaud in the 47th minute, a nod to Johnson’s number.
The crowd chanted Johnson’s name and clapped as both teams formed a circle around the halfway line. The players then banged their sticks against the ice.
Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers team-mates paid tribute ahead of a memorial game
Thousands gathered inside the Motorpoint Arena to remember Johnson after his tragic death
Flowers, cards and jerseys were left outside the venue as emotions ran high before the match
A large sign above the rink proclaimed Johnson as ‘Forever Our 47’.
The friendly match against Manchester Storm will not count toward either team’s Elite Ice Hockey League tallies, it has been confirmed.
The game ultimately finished level with the score 4-4.
Johnson’s family are watching their game from their home in Minnesota.
The Panthers revealed they will retire their No 47 jersey out of respect for Johnson, with the news announced in a post on the club’s official social media pages.
‘We are humbled to announce that we will be retiring Adam Johnson’s #47 jersey,’ they wrote. ‘Forever our 47.’
Outside the arena, meanwhile, supporters laid wreaths, flowers and jerseys.
Johnson, 29, died after an opposing player’s skate slashed his neck during a game in October
His girlfriend, Ryan Wolfe, found an engagement ring he was planning to use to propose to her
The man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been released on police bail.
Following the collision, Johnson was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.
A post-mortem examination confirmed he had died as a result of a fatal neck injury.
The Panthers will next play their first Elite League game since Johnson’s death on 26 November against Belfast Giants at the Motorpoint Arena.
Omar Pacha, the club’s chief executive, thanked supporters for their patience.
‘We want to honour Adam and everything about who he was as a person and a player,’ he said.
‘It’s bound to be an emotional night but a special one too as we come together to remember Adam, but this is also an important process for getting the team back on the ice.
The Panthers have confirmed they will retire Johnson’s No 47 jersey in a mark of their respect
Johnson was proclaimed as ‘Forever Our 47’ during the match, with memorabilia also for sale
‘Each player is going through their own process and there is no pressure on any of them.’
Johnson previously played 13 times for Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL.
His girlfriend, Ryan Wolfe, found an engagement ring he was planning to use to propose to her, family friends have heartbreakingly revealed.
‘His grandmother told me that he had shown her (Johnson’s grandmother) the ring before he left and he was going to propose at some point,’ Scott Pionk, whose son played college hockey with Johnson, told USA Today.