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The Holdovers Review
February 20, 2024

Tragedy on the Ice

Adam Johnson was a beloved hockey player who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Johnson was playing with his team for a Challenge Cup match at Sheffield Steelers on October 28, 2023 when tragedy struck. During his game, Matt Petgrave, a player on the Sheffield Steelers, kicked his foot up, above his head which resulted in his skate blade cutting into Johnson’s neck. As Johnson struggled to stand up, while he skated off the ice, there was blood spilling out of his neck all over the ice. It was very graphic and difficult for the players and audience to watch the accident occur. He sadly passed away shortly after he had arrived at the hospital. This was such a sad and tragic accident that affected many individuals.


Photo Courtesy of Joe Sargent


There has been a lot of controversy as to whether Matt’s leg kick was intentional or accidental. Many believed that his intent was to injure him not knowing Adam was going to die. At the same time, a lot of individuals believe that it was an accident because of the way he was shoved. The video of the accident can be taken differently depending on one’s perspective. The accident is currently under investigation, and police say that the investigation will take some time to come to a conclusion. Ever since the accident, police have been reviewing and breaking down footage, talking to witnesses and overall trying to understand the causes of the accident. Police made it clear that since it was such a complex tragedy, it is a wider investigation and will take time to come to a conclusion. They had advised all opinions to stay off the internet while they continue their investigation. 


At one of the recent games, Matt did not suit up for the game. As they honored the accident and the recent death, they gave a standing ovation for not only Adam Johnson, but for Matt as well, knowing that it is also difficult for him and his teammates, family and fans. Over 8,000 fans showed their love and support for Matt Petgrave. They held the puck drop in honor of Adam Johnson to show their love. 


This accident took a big toll in the hockey community.  This accident showed many hockey players how truly important it is  to wear your protection properly. Many don’t wear neck guards, but after this accident, it is being enforced in some professional leagues. In the NHL, wearing a neck guard is still optional, although many individuals started wearing them because of what happened. Some people are also upset that it is not a mandatory thing. This whole accident shook a lot of people and has affected so many individuals. The question still stands, was this truly an accident? 

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