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Adam Johnson: Neck guards will not be made mandatory in elite hockey games after player death | UK News

The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) will not make neck guards mandatory following the death of a professional player whose neck was slashed by a skate during a game.

The EIHL, the highest level of ice hockey in the UK, said wearing the protective equipment was “strongly encouraged” but not mandatory in a statement.

The league is separate from the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA), which announced a change in regulations on Tuesday following the death of Johnson that will make it compulsory for players to wear a neck guard during “all on-ice activities” from the start of next year.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Adam Johnson plays against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL preseason hockey game, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pic: AP

Johnson, 29, played for the Nottingham Panthers – one of the 10 teams in the EIHL – and died after his neck was slashed by a skate during the team’s derby clash against Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.

An inquest opened into his death today and initial investigations found he was “seriously injured”, coroner Tanyka Rawden said.

“He was taken by ambulance to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where he died later that day as a result of the injuries sustained”, she said.

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Ice hockey player dies during game

More than 8,000 fans were inside the Sheffield Arena when the incident took place.

The game was abandoned and spectators were asked to leave in the aftermath.

The Panthers said it was a “freak accident” on Sunday when they confirmed Johnson had died.

South Yorkshire Police are investigating the incident but officers have said the inquiry “will take some time”.

The EIHA is the sport’s governing body in England and Wales, with almost 400 teams at junior and senior level below the Elite League.

Under current rules, players in the UK do not have to play with neck guards once they turn 18.

Before joining Nottingham Panthers, the Minnesota-born Johnson played in Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Sweden for the Malmo Redhawks.

He also played in California for Ontario Reign and in Germany for Augsburger Panther.

Inquiries into his death continue.

The inquest has been adjourned until 26 January for a review.

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