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Recently, a hockey rink in England was the site of a horrible incident where Elite Ice Hockey League player Matt Petgrave appeared to jump kick and slash former Pittsburgh Penguins player Adam Johnson in the neck with his skate, leading to the catastrophic and fatal bleeding out and death of Johnson.

The jump kick enraged and roiled people all over the globe, with many thinking that Petgrave’s jump kick and slash to the throat were intentional and therefore manslaughter, and others arguing that Petgrave was tripped and didn’t mean to do it.

Among those who believed that Petgrave’s actions were intentional were many former hockey players.

They included The Great One himself.

The Johnson family was understandably outraged and wanted Petgrave charged with manslaughter.

Colin Rugg of Trending Politics has more background on the family’s reaction:

Johnson’s family is livid with the death, as they put the blame on Petgrave for the fatal kick.

“It was very reckless. I just want them [police] to get it right. We are looking for justice for Adam,” said the aunt, Kari Johnson after the incident.

“You don’t take your leg and kick somebody and cut their throat. I’m sorry.”

“He took our boy. There are a few of us in the family that think it was a totally unnecessary, very, very bad action to take.”

Kari Johnson also spoke out about how Johnson’s parents are dealing with the incident.

“As far as his dad, my brother, he’s just been a mess. Along with Adam’s grandma and Adam’s brother and myself.”

“I would have to say his mother has probably been the strongest of us. But I don’t know deep down inside if she’s in shock or crying when she’s alone. She’s just been very strong.”

In a show of solidarity, fans of Petgrave bizarrely gave him a standing ovation the other night, demonstrating their support for the player amidst the deadly controversy.

This was despite the fact that Petgrave had taken a leave of absence and was under investigation by British police for manslaughter.


While the horrifying incident has been described as a “freak accident,” South Yorkshire Police is investigating the circumstances of Johnson’s death to determine whether Petgrave should face criminal charges.

Police have not yet formally confirmed that Matt Petgrave was the individual arrested, but it seems clear who the suspect would be in this case.

Sports Illustrated:

Police in England have made an arrest in connection to the death of Minnesota native Adam Johnson, whose throat was slashed by the skate of an opposing player during a game between the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers in the Elite Ice Hockey League last month.

The arrest was announced Tuesday – 17 days after the incident – but South Yorkshire Police did not identify the person taken into custody. In a press release, the department said detectives “arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter.”

The assumption is that the arrested individual is Sheffield hockey player Matt Petgrave, whose skate struck Johnson in the neck during the Oct. 28 game. Horrific video of the play saw Johnson fall to the ice and then attempt to skate to the bench while holding his neck. Blood covered the ice and Johnson was later pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.

“Our 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,” South Yorkshire Police Detective Chief Superintendent Becs Horsfall said in the release.

Many hockey fans, given Mr. Petgrave’s history both on and off the ice, believe that this incident was manslaughter and are relieved that an arrest was made.

The racial dynamics of this incident, with Petgrave being black and Johnson being white, have made the case a fraught one as far as public debate and discussion is concerned.

We will certainly be keeping an eye on this one as the slow wheels of justice turn in Limeyland.