Adam Johnson is laid to rest in Minnesota hometown as fiancee of fallen hockey player says ‘we miss you so much’ following his freak death

  • Adam Johnson died after his throat was cut with a skate blade in a hockey game
  • His family said his ‘loving and quiet demeanor will be eternally missed’
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Adam Johnson was laid to rest on Sunday in Hibbing, Minnesota following a tragic on-ice collision that caused his death at just 29 years old.

The Nottingham Panthers hockey player died last month in an Elite Ice Hockey League game in England after his throat was slashed by opponent Matt Petgrave’s skate blade.

Following a private ceremony over the weekend, Johnson will be memorialized on Monday afternoon with a ‘celebration of life’ at Memorial Building Arena in Hibbing.

In a social media post, Johnson’s fiancee Ryan Wolfe said ‘we miss you so much,’ while his family remembered him in a heartfelt obituary.

‘He enjoyed yard work, fishing, golfing with buddies, playing in the Iron Ice hockey tournament, projects around the house, reading, following the stock market and listening to his favorite music,’ the obituary reads.

‘Adam especially enjoyed his quiet coffee time with his fiancee Ryan, dreaming about their future, and taking in the mornings together. Adam loved to live a slower life and took pleasure in the small, everyday things.

Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson and his girlfriend Ryan Wolfe at a family wedding 

Adam Johnson, 29, was killed  after having his throat slashed by an opponent's blade

Adam Johnson, 29, was killed  after having his throat slashed by an opponent’s blade

Johnson's throat was cut by the blade of Sheffield Steelers' Matt Petgrave

Johnson’s throat was cut by the blade of Sheffield Steelers’ Matt Petgrave

‘He was many things to many people, but to those who were lucky enough to be loved by Adam knew he was thoughtful, patient and genuinely authentic,’ it reads later on. ‘He loved his fiancee, family, and friends above all else. His loving and quiet demeanor will be eternally missed.’

The obituary also described his relationship with his younger brother, Ryan.

‘Ryan and Adam had an unbreakable bond. A true definition of how siblings were meant to be. Ryan always supported his little brother’s ideas no matter how far fetched they were. Adam knew that if there was anything in life he ever needed, Ryan was always there.’

Critics have accused Petgrave – of the Sheffield Steelers – of recklessly causing the fatality by extending his leg when making contact with Johnson.

Johnson’s passing on October 28 is still under investigation from the South Yorkshire Police.

Petgrave, a 31-year-old Canadian, has not discussed the tragedy publicly.

‘I think the actions were unnecessary,’ Johnson’s aunt, Kari Johnson, told South West News Service. ‘It was just unnecessary. Nobody touched him. I’ve watched that video hundreds of times.

A video surfaced last week from over a dozen years ago that appeared to show Petgrave performing a similar illegal move to the one that resulted in Johnson’s death.

Fans of the Nottingham Panthers started a memorial for Johnson following his tragic death

Fans of the Nottingham Panthers started a memorial for Johnson following his tragic death

In a clip shared by X user @WallStreetSilv, Petgrave appears to throw his left elbow and right trailing leg at an opposing player, sending him spiraling in the air and smacking to the ice neck and upper back first.

The incident appears to take place during Petgrave’s first season in the Ontario Hockey League, when he played for the Niagara IceDogs.

The English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the sport below the Elite League, reacted to Johnson’s death by requiring all players in England to wear neck guards from the start of 2024.

Neck guards will be mandatory from January 1 for all on-ice activities. The EIHA gave on Monday its ‘strong recommendation’ that all players start wearing a neck guard, effective immediately. 

It said neck guards would not be mandatory immediately because of anticipated supply issues.