Shropshire Star

Tom Watkins pays Adam Johnson tribute after hockey tragedy

Telford Tigers head coach Tom Watkins sent his thoughts to the family of Adam Johnson and the ice hockey community after Tigers’ defeat at Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday night.


Nottingham Panthers player Johnson, who was 29 and from the United States, was tragically killed while playing ice hockey against Sheffield Steelers on the same evening after reportedly suffering a slashed neck.

Heartbreaking news of Johnson’s passing was confirmed on Sunday morning and Tigers’ NIHL National League fixture at Leeds Knights last night was subsequently postponed.

The global ice hockey community, and particularly that in the United Kingdom, was in mourning and rallied together to remember Minnesota-born Johnson – who only joined the club for his first experience of UK hockey in August.

Watkins said: “I don’t want to speak about the game at all with what has happened in the Steelers v Panthers game in Sheffield. It is so sad to hear the devastating news about Adam Johnson. My heart goes out to his family and friends and the entire ice hockey community.”

Telford Tigers 2, the club’s Laidler Conference team, also saw last night’s fixture against Sheffield Titans postponed.

Tigers’ trip to Milton Keynes on Saturday ended in a heavy 11-4 defeat.

The defeat came after Telford had confirmed they will be without Sam Watkins, 19, for the remainder of the 2023/24 campaign as the teenage forward requires heart surgery.

The visitors were also missing the experienced trio of Jonathan Weaver, Ricky Plant and Danny Rose for the trip to Buckinghamshire.

Tigers led in the fifth minute through Fin Howells before efforts from Harry Gulliver and player coach Tim Wallace turned the scoreline on its head. Lucas Price netted to level at 2-2 at the end of period one.

Watkins’ side led again early in the second as Jack Watkins scored but Tom Rutkis equalised for Lightning. Dillon Lawrence, Ross Venus and ex-Tigers man Rory Herrman made it 6-3 to MK.

Tigers struggled to recover and fell 8-3 down before a five minute home power play due to a Price check to the head saw Wallace and Cameron Hamill score. Venus netted his second for 11-3 before Connor Lee’s consolation for Tigers.