Adam Johnson, a former forward for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, tragically passed away early Sunday morning after a freak accident during a game in England.
Just 29 years old, Johnson was a member of the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the United Kingdom’s top league. During a game against the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday, Johnson was accidentally cut in the throat during an on-ice collision with a Steelers defenseman. He received emergency treatment on the ice before being transported to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
Fans were asked to leave the building due to a “major medical emergency” as the game would end up being suspended with 6:13 left in the second period. The Panthers confirmed Johnson’s tragic passing this morning.
Johnson, a Minnesota native, began his junior hockey career in the USHL, playing for both theIndiana Ice and Sioux City Musketeers. Johnson would then go the collegiate route and join the University of Minnesota Duluth. After a sophomore campaign where he would finish second in goals and points, he led Duluth to the 2017 Frozen Four when he scored the overtime goal to defeat Boston University. They would go on the fall to the University of Denver in the championship game.
That summer, Johnson would attend the Pittsburgh Penguins development camp. After that, he decided to forgo the rest of his college career and instead signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Penguins. Johnson would begin his professional career with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He finished ninth on the team in goals (11) and points (31). He would also score a goal in three games during the playoffs.
Johnson made his NHL debut the following season, appearing in six games for the Penguins and registering two assists. Back with the WBS Penguins, he improved upon his previous year by scoring 18 goals and 43 points overall. Again appearing in the NHL during the 2019-20 season, Johnson would score his first and only NHL goal in his hometown of Minnesota in front of many friends and family.
As the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the following season, Johnson opted to leave North America for the SHL where he played in a top-six role for the Malmö Redhawk. He scored seven goals and 12 points in 21 games before opting to break his contract and return to the States. He would sign on with the Ontario Reign in the AHL for the remainder of the year. His offense continued to shine as he added six goals and 11 assists in just 14 games. Returning to Ontario the following season, Johnson had one goal and six points in 28 games before a mid-season trade to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. There he posted four goals and 12 assists in 30 games.
Johnson decided to head back overseas, this time to Germany as he joined the Augsburger Panther in the DEL. He posted seven goals and 22 points but was unable to help the team avoid relegation. Opting to leaving at the end of his contract, Johnson joined the Panthers in the EIHL this past season. He was off to a hot start with four goals and seven points in seven games before his tragic passing.