Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson has died after suffering a serious cut to his neck from a skate during Saturday’s Challenge Cup match.
The game against the Sheffield Steelers was stopped in the 35th minute as the 29-year-old American received emergency treatment from paramedics on the ice.
The Panthers said on Sunday they were “devastated” Johnson had died following a “freak accident”.
“The club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him,” they added.
“Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great team-mate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him.
“The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.
“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.”
Players visited Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Sunday to lay flowers and spoke to some of the hundreds of fans who had gathered to pay tribute.
The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) confirmed Sunday’s matches across the UK have been postponed “in light of this deeply upsetting news”.
“The thoughts of everyone connected with the EIHL are with Adam’s family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad and difficult time,” the EIHL added.
The Panthers were due to play Manchester Storm on Sunday and the club has confirmed their home game against Glasgow Clan on Tuesday has also been postponed.
Fellow players formed a ring around Johnson in the immediate aftermath of the incident before protective screens were raised and the players returned to the locker rooms.
He was later taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
The Panthers tweeted shortly after the incident that the 8,000 fans in attendance had “been asked to leave the building due to a major medical emergency”.
“Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today’s news,” the Panthers said.
“The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
“We ask that the privacy of Adam’s family and friends, and everyone at the club is respected at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with our grief.
“Rest in peace Adam.”
Johnson previously played in North America’s National Hockey League (NHL), playing 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He made the move to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2020-21 season before spells with the Ontario Reign and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.
Johnson played for Augsburger Panther in Germany before signing for the Nottingham Panthers in August.
Steelers lead tributes to Johnson
Sheffield said in their statement: “Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson’s partner, family and team-mates.”
Football club Sheffield Wednesday observed a minute’s silence before the start of their Championship game against Rotherham at Hillsborough on Sunday.
“Our thoughts are with Adam’s family, friends, team-mates and everyone affected by the events of yesterday evening. RIP,” Wednesday added on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Johnson’s former club the Pittsburgh Penguins said: “Adam will always be a part of the Penguins family. It was our honour to watch him fulfil his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.”
The NHL added: “Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends and team-mates.”
Augsburger Panther, another of Johnson’s former teams, said on social media they would hold a moment’s silence before their game against Dusseldorfer EG on Tuesday.
Alex Norris, the MP for Nottingham North said Johnson’s death was “devastating news” for the city.
Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood added: “I know the thoughts of our city are with Adam Johnson’s family, friends, team-mates, everyone at the club, fans and in the wider ice hockey family.”