Adam Johnson on-ice death being investigated for possible charges

Johnson died after taking a skate to the throat at the blue line in an EIHL (British League) game this weekend.

If you haven’t seen the hit, this is a link to it…it shows the impact but not the gruesome aftermath.

Collin Rugg on X: “JUST IN: Police are investigating the death of hockey player Adam Johnson after he got slashed in the neck by opposing team member Matt Petgrave’s skate. Online social media users are split on whether the kick was intentional or an accident. It is currently not completely clear…” / X (

I will say in all of the thousands of hours I’ve watched hockey live or on TV, I’ve never seen anyone’s skate fly up to head level that quickly.

Johnson played for Duluth and faced Miami a number of times before turning pro and logging time with the Penguins. Really solid all-around player.

The charge-or-not-to-charge debate has blown up recently, but since everyone here typically agrees on most things, I thought I’d toss it out here for a definitive conclusion.

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How about Will Weber,Sr D man.He Knocked an opposing player off his feet sending him backwards onto his back.The players feet came up and Webers throat was slit.Horrific scene at the Goggin. EMT’s and MD’s from the stands responded immediately.Weber was air flighted to cincy for over 100 stitches. He was back on the ice in 3-4 weeks. Lucky.2011 season I think.

Goalie Clint Malarchuk’s 300 stitch near death throat cut in 1989 is probably the most notorious. It’s the one that used to scare the crap out of my kid’s coaches when he was growing up. Minor hockey used to have a mandatory neck guard rule up to a certain age. It’s been so long for me I don’t know if it is still in place. Regardless, the kids hated having to wear them. I wonder if neck guards do provide an additional level of safety for potential flying skate cuts.

This is the first I’m seeing the actual video of what happened. Everything I had read about the incident quoted it as being a “freak accident”. I’ve seen people get cut with skate blades and also stick blades from numerous years of playing hockey and being around hockey. I was there and saw the Will Weber accident down in the corner at Goggin and got to look at his neck close up afterward. Most of the cuts are on the legs or arms. Neck is rare, like I said I saw the Weber neck cut and then the video of Clint Malarchuk neck cut.

This video though is very weird, yeah guys loose footing and fall, skates sometime come up in the air. I’m torn on this though because from this video it almost looks like a karate style kick up in the air. The players body was going one way but his leg came way up high in the other direction. From what I’ve read Johnson was 6’4, he was standing up maybe bent over a little but its not like he was laying on the ice or in the act of falling. For the opposing players skate to make it that high is a pretty hard sell on me that it was just him being off balance or loosing his footing. I’m leaning toward saying this was intentional, not saying the player who kicked his legs up was trying to go for the neck but it certainly looked like he was trying to cause some sort of injury, like a knee on knee hit but got the leg up too far. Either way it was uncalled for and doesn’t have a place in the game.

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Also forgot to throw in that a neck guard in the case of this incident was probably not going to do anygood, might have helped some but this was a high impact force that probably would have gone right through the guard. A glancing slice or something not as direct a neck guard would probably have helped.

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Weber is around 6’4” also.

I was at the Will Weber game, too. I saw the skate come up and slice his neck and him run into the locker room before passing out. Thank God for the right people being there at the right time and Will is still around.

I was skimming thru The Athletic tonight. Damn good story about possible neck protection

I don’t think there was any intention there and even if there was, clearly not intention to kill. Don’t see the value in criminal charges at all, hopefully the police are able to wrap up any inquiries quickly.

Depends on what type of neck guard we’re talking about. I wore one my entire time playing and never had one that I think would have been easily sliced through by a blade. But they were bulky standalone guards, not some of these lighter extended turtleneck designs I’ve seen now.

I understand the apprehension to wear something that could affect your comfort and performance when you’re playing at a high level, so I understand professional players not wanting to wear them right now. I think the answer will end up being mandating them at lower levels and slowly mandating them at all levels with some grandfathering + additional R&D to see if there are better designs or materials to still be protective without some of the downsides.

Yeah, for anyone newer to Miami hockey, the Will Weber incident we’re referring to happened at Cady Arena in 2010-11. He and a Northern Michigan skater went crashing into the boards and the NMU player’s skate came up and clipped Weber’s neck.

The incident happened less than five feet in front of me, since my seats are Row A in Sec. 12. He got up, grimaced, put his glove to his neck and started projectile spewing blood from his wound. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve seen at a live sporting event, and I’ve seen a lot.

It was actually my birthday, 2010, and while I typically spent most of my time at the rink in my seat, that night I was in a suite for the other two periods, but unfortunately that was the one I was at ice level.

As a true hockey player, Weber wanted to get stitched up and get back into the game, but he was airlifted to UC and amazingly was back in the lineup three weeks later.

The kevlar neck guard discussion was huge then, and Weber wore one when he returned, as did Carter Camper and Curtis McKenzie. But all three dropped them within weeks of the incident due to discomfort, and Weber said at the time he didn’t think it would’ve made a difference.

Granted the technology has advanced 13 years since then, so I have no idea if they’re better now or not, but a lot of very knowledgeable fans I follow say it wouldn’t have mattered in this case.

Not faulting anyone who is making the comparisons about Weber, Malarchuk, Evander Kane, etc., but this was different. Weber and an opposing skater tumbled down. Malarchuk was sprawled out on the ice. Kane was also on the ground.

Johnson was 6-feet-4 and Petgrave’s skate made direct contact with his neck while he was skating upright. In all the thousands of hours I’ve watched hockey, I’ve never seen a player’s skate fly up to head level in a game before.

I’ve heard the term reckless thrown around a lot on the interwebs, and I have to agree. Criminal? Can’t say. Glad I don’t have to make that call.

Interesting decision.

Go back and read the article I posted from The Athletic. It talks about fabrics they now have that can protect from cuts

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I usually don’t like to watch gruesome videos because I believe they rob you of your humanity, but since that video stops at the moment of impact, I decided to watch it.

I have never seen a hockey player move his body like Petgrave moved his body on that play. For him to throw his left leg up in the air like that is an intentional act, reckless within the game of hockey.

Watching the play, and reading Petgrave’s mind, I am guessing that he thought he was being interfered with by Johnson’s teammate and decided he was going to “retaliate” by interfering with Johnson any way possible.

WHL follows suit.

Sean Avery is admittedly a goof, but he rightly brought up the vast advancements in skate technology the past 20 years. They’re titanium and thinner and sharper than ever.