NHL Notebook: British police make arrest in death of Adam Johnson, release suspect on bail; Could Nazem Kadri ask for trade from Flames?

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Police across the pond have arrested in the death of hockey player Adam Johnson, who died tragically two weeks ago after being cut by a blade during a game.
Johnson, 29, a forward for England’s Elite Ice Hockey League Nottingham Panthers, was mortally wounded when the skate of an opponent sliced his throat during a Nottingham Panthers game against the Sheffield Steelers.
The player whose skate cut Johnson, Matt Petgrave, who plays for the Sheffield Steelers, was reportedly arrested by South Yorkshire Police, and has been charged with manslaughter, according to The Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington. Police overseas have not named who was detained but reported Wednesday that the suspect was released on bail.
The incident, widely recognized in the hockey community as nothing short of a tragic accident, sent shockwaves throughout the world. Petgrave, 31, a Black man, has been targeted with racial abuse in the weeks following the incident.
Video of the incident, reviewed by Oilersnation but deemed too graphic to share, showed Petgrave attempt to lay a body check on an opposing player but saw his skates rise up, clipping Johnson in the throat. As Petgrave skated away with his hands over his face, Johnson struggled to get to his feet, before a teammate came to help him. As he did and began to skate towards the bench, blood could be seen covering his jersey.
South Yorkshire Police detective chief superintendent Becs Horsfall told the BBC the service had been “carrying out extensive inquiries to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.”
“We have been speaking to highly specialized experts in their field to assist in our inquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation,” Horsfall added.
Dr. Victoria Silverwood, a criminologist with a specialization in violence in sports, said Tuesday on Twitter it’s “common practice that a person whose actions lead to an unexpected death may be arrested in order for information to be gathered,” and “potentially for restrictions to be put in place.” Silverwood noted the process could take months or years, and “an arrest does not equal guilt,” and “even a criminal charge does not equal guilt.”
Stephen Halloran, a criminal defence solicitor and managing director at Lawtons Solicitors in London, told the Associated Press manslaughter investigations in England and Wales are “not straightforward,” adding they can range from an offence not being far from an accident, to one falling short of murder.
Incidents like what caused Johnson to lose his life, and a subsequent charge to be laid aren’t without precedence. Giacinto “Jim” Boni was charged with culpable homicide in 1992 while playing in Italy’s second league when he struck Miran Schrott with his stick, causing a cardiac event that cost Schrott his life.
During a game, Boni and Schrott were in a scrum, when the former put the latter in a headlock, and the Schrott responded by punching Boni in the head. He responded by striking Schrott in the chest with the butt-end of his stick, causing him to crumble to the ice, a Feb. 3, 1994 edition of the National Post explained. Schrott lost consciousness, never re-gained it, and passed in hospital. It was later determined Schrott had a heart condition, while Boni pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and paid a fine.
Meanwhile, the Steelers played their first game since the incident occurred on Sunday, honouring Johnson in a pre-game ceremony with a wreath-laying ceremony and a tribute in the 47th minute. Johnson wore the number 47.
Earlier in the game, during the 22nd minute, Petgrave, who did not play in the game, was given a standing ovation by over 8,000 fans in attendance, BBC’s Peter Spencer shared on Twitter.
The Nottingham Panthers, meanwhile, withdrew from the EIHL’s Challenge Cup, but will play a memorial game this Saturday in Johnson’s honour.


Could Kadri want out?

Things could be going from bad, to worse for the Calgary Flames.
Days after Nikita Zadorov’s agent asked the club to trade his player, and subsequently went on a Twitter tirade about it, Nazem Kadri could be the next to want to eek his way out.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Kadri isn’t interested in sticking around Calgary if the club decides to go through a rebuild.
“He wants to stay in Calgary and wants to win with the Flames,” Dreger said, “But if the Flames as an organization progress to a rebuild, he wouldn’t be interested in that and I think there would be others who are in a similar situation.”
Kadri, 33, signed a seven-year deal in the summer of 2022, paying him $7-million per year. He drew in for all 82 games with the Flames last year scoring 24 goals and 56 points, and has three tallies and nine points in 15 games this year.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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