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NHL Team Panthers Pay a Heartfelt Tribute as They Retire Jersey Number 47

Published 11/20/2023, 12:53 PM EST

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After a heartbreaking accident on the rink, the hockey community has been mourning their brutal loss. During an unsuspecting skateblade tragedy, Nottingham Panthers’ player Adam Johnson met with his untimely demise, darkening the fateful day of October 28. While his neck injury unveiled a bloodstained death mid-game, the team’s rivalry against the Sheffield Steelers came to a halt, leaving fans in disbelief. 

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Johnson’s sudden departure at 29 went hard on many, with his grieving family and teammates still in shock. As the iconic hockey persona’s passion was remembered by his sobbing wife, the Panthers’ crew decided to honor him in a heartfelt gesture. On a somber Saturday at the Motorpoint Arena, a memorial game was conducted, marking the retirement of Johnson’s revered jersey number. With tearful eyes, the teams lifted their sticks for the beloved player, highlighting his legacy one last time. 

Ice hockey match cuts life short 


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Unleashing havoc during a game where safety measures, particularly neck guards, seemed pivotal, Johnson’s death left a dreadful impact on his team. Although the Nottingham Panthers players appeared to wear these guards, confirmation remained elusive once the fatal injury took course. 

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While he skated into Sheffield’s defensive zone, a collision with another player resulted in a catastrophic moment. Matt Petgrave, a defenseman for the Sheffield Steelers had fallen down, with his skate’s blade inadvertently striking Johnson’s neck. Within split seconds, the bloody aftermath revealed chaos, leading to a postmortem examination confirming his death from the deep-cut injury. 


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Regrettably, the scene led to profound grief and stirred a criminal investigation. While official inspection culminated in the arrest of a suspect on suspicion of manslaughter, who was later released on bail, Johnson’s teammates gasped for solace.

Icon gone too soon is remembered 

On November 18, the Panthers joined the field during a match against the Manchester Storm, felicitating the hockey face-off with a tribunal act. The atmosphere was charged with emotion as both teams stood in unity at center ice, remembering Johnson’s prowess on the rink. In a poignant tribute, announcer Stef Litchfield shared a transformative stance while his words echoed through the hockey field. 


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Remarkably, the team decided to retire Johnson’s jersey, which was numbered 47. The memorial event soon unveiled waves of appreciation, celebrating his life both on and off the professional barriers. Amidst a low-intensity game devoid of checks, a moment of applause in the 47th minute commenced, with players and fans cherishing his memories. “He will forever be our No. 47”, Litchfield remarked, adding, “We will miss him dearly.”


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While the repercussions extended beyond the ice rink, it also triggered a mandate from the English Ice Hockey Association. Significantly, all players in England will have to wear neck guards, starting in 2024. Additionally, the Nottingham Panthers withdrew from the hockey league’s Challenge Cup, prioritizing healing and unity among players. Despite the sorrow, the community cherished the memories of Adam Johnson, a forever part of hockey’s history.

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Written by:

Sanchari Bhaduri


One take at a time

Hello there readers! I am a spirited writer who brings you captivating stories at Viral Sports Moments! With a bachelor's degree in English, I kicked off my content creation journey back in 2015, diving headfirst into the thrilling world of freelancing. I have worn many hats along the way, including Content Manager at Reddit, where I honed my skills in the digital realm, accumulating a treasure trove of experience and a formidable skill set. Here at VSM, I revel in the wide range of sports we cover.
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Edited by:

Arnima Shukla