POLICE have given an update into the death of ice hockey star Adam Johnson – as the "freak accident" sparked a major change in the sport.
The Nottingham Panthers player, 29, died in hospital after suffering a gash to his throat during a mid-game collision on Saturday night.
The former NHL player was struck by a stray ice skate as he clashed with Sheffield Steelers' Matt Petgrave around 35 minutes into the game.
Blood was seen on the ice as Johnson fell to the floor, before he was helped towards the side of the rink by a teammate.
He is understood to have collapsed a few paces later, with paramedics rushing onto the ice to provide emergency medical attention.
The crowd of 8,000 spectators watched in horror as desperate attempts were made to save the American's life.
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Johnson was taken to hospital, but the Panthers sadly confirmed in a statement on Sunday morning that he had died of his injuries.
South Yorkshire Police has confirmed it has launched a probe into the "circumstances surrounding the incident".
A statement added: "We were called at 8.25pm on Saturday, October 28, to reports that a player had been seriously injured during a Sheffield Steelers versus Nottingham Panthers game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield.
"Officers attended the scene alongside other emergency services and one man, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Sadly, he was later pronounced deceased at hospital.
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"Our officers remain at the scene carrying out enquiries and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.
"We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our enquiries."
It comes as another English ice hockey club has now introduced mandatory neck guards in the wake of Adam's death.
Oxford City Stars, who include former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech among their players, say the protective equipment will now be worn by all its squad members.
In a club statement this morning, the National Ice Hockey League South Division 1 club said: "In the wake of the tragic incident involving Adam Johnson, who sadly lost his life in a freak in-game accident, Oxford City Stars is advancing it's commitment to enhance player safety.
"The club is proud to announce the introduction of mandatory neck guards for all players and coaching staff.
"The club has ordered and is now awaiting delivery of neck guards for all players and coaches. Once received, these guards will be utilised during all on-ice activities going forward."
The Stars' director of hockey operations Shane Moore added: "A life has tragically been taken too soon in a freak accident, and if wearing neck guards can prevent another devastating loss, then we want to ensure we have done everything within our power to protect our players."
It comes as a sea of flowers and written tributes have been placed outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham by devastated fans.
Those who had seen the incident described it as “one in a million” told how the player was “absolutely distraught”.
Panthers’ fan Hazel Woods, who was at the game, said: “What happened was horrible and I can’t get the image out of my head.
“It is like a bad dream I can’t wake up from.”
She added: "It was a freak accident, totally tragic, and no one was to blame."
Adam's fiancee Ryan Wolfe today shared a photo of her partner on her Instagram.
She said: "My sweet, sweet angel. I'll miss you forever and love you always."
Ryan also shared a video of Adam scoring in the NHL for former side Pittsburgh Penguins.
The video was captioned with three heartbroken emojis.
The couple are understood to have become engaged over the summer and lived together in England.
She is said to have run onto the ice at Sheffield's Utilita Arena as players formed a ring to give him privacy as he received emergency medical treatment from paramedics.
A Panthers club statement said: "The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night.
"The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam's family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.
"Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam's passing.
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"Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today's news."
The club said it will provide an update on future fixtures.
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