Local ice hockey clubs to provide neck guards for players following death of Adam Johnson

Written by on 6th November 2023

The Billingham Stars and Whitley Warriors will be providing neck guards for their players, following the death of ‘’much loved’’ Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson

On October 28 Nottingham Panthers player Johnson was involved in a ‘freak accident’ on the ice against the Sheffield Steelers, which saw an opponent’s skate blade cut his throat during the game.

The ice hockey community and governing bodies have come together with their condolences and plans to ensure player safety in the future.

A memorial for Ice Hockey player Adam Johnson  Saturday 28th October 2023 (Photo by Ben Booth: Alamy)

In a statement issued by the Stars on Facebook earlier this week, General Manager Allen Flavell said: “In the light of this weekend’s tragic events, I have decided that we at Billingham Stars need to be as proactive as we can be on the issue of safety.

‘’From today, all Stars players must wear a neck guard as mandatory at training and during games where available.’’

The English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) have also said they will make neck guards mandatory in 2024, after issuing a “strong recommendation” for players to do so until the end of the year in response to Johnson’s death. 

Hannah Ridgard-Mason, Head of Operations at the EIHA, told Spark: “The hockey community is mourning the loss of a much-loved player.’’

Flavell echoed the sentiments of the EIHA in his statement, also thanking local sponsor, Clifton Lodge Veterinary Group for ‘securing the necessary equipment’ for the team.

‘’No one wants to see a repeat of the incident in Sheffield, we owe it to the memory of Adam Johnson to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our players,’’ Flavell continued.

“We will keep our fans updated with any further measures that we may implement in the future.”

In North Tyneside, the Whitley Warriors have released a statement of their own, however, they have confirmed it will still be up to the individual player to decide whether they wish to wear a neck guard.

The tragic events of last weekend have brought player safety into focus and we wish to provide these items to players,” the club said this week.

‘’As a club, we would encourage all players to wear them but it will be a personal choice based on the player’s own wishes.”

Whitley Warriors General Manager Willie Dunn said: ‘’We feel that the wearing of a neck guard should be a player’s choice but we will encourage our players to wear them for all games and in training.’’

The EIHA has outlined a number of plans to ensure player safety in the future. The plans and the statement in full can be read by clicking here.

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