Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammate Westin Michaud DEFENDS Matt Petgrave amid speculation the hockey player intentionally kicked his opponent causing tragic death
- Adam Johnson’s neck was cut by Matt Petgrave’s blade during a game Saturday
- The Sheffield Steelers player has faces taunts and even accusations of homicide
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammate Westin Michaud has spoken out in support of Matt Petgrave.
Johnson, 29, died on the ice in front of 8,000 after his neck was cut by opponent Petgrave’s skate following a collision during the Panthers’ game against the Sheffield Steelers in England on Saturday.
The incident has sparked controversy with some speculating whether Petgrave intentionally kicked Johnson.
But Johnson’s teammate, 27-year-old Michaud, has come to Petgrave’s defense, speaking out on social media.
‘I need to address something about the accident,’ Michaud posted on X. ‘We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave. The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for. I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident, I saw both players moving fast.
Adam Johnson (right) died after his neck was cut by Matt Petgrave’s (left) blade
Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammate Westin Michaud has defended Petgrave
Michaud took to social media to criticize the abuse and backlash Petgrave has faced
‘The unintentional clip of the Panther player’s leg by the Sheffield player caused the somersault. It’s clear to me his actions were unintentional and anyone suggesting otherwise is mistaken. Let’s come together and not spread unwarranted hate to someone who needs [our] support.’
Michaud’s public support of Petgrave comes after former NHL player Sean Avery called the Steelers defenseman a ‘dirty player’ and claimed he was ‘absolutely’ trying to make contact with Johnson.
However, when Fox host Jesse Watters said it looked like ‘murder’, Avery said: ‘That’s a pretty dangerous word to be throwing around. I’ve watched it, it’s terrible, it’s tough to watch.
‘Did this kid make a move that was very unorthodox? Do I think he was trying to make contact of some sort? Absolutely.’
Avery added: ‘Do I think he woke up and said I’m going to murder somebody today? No.’
Former NFL player turned radio presenter, Jermaine Wiggins, also sparked outrage when he suggested that Petgrave intentionally kicked Johnson.
Discussing the tragic accident on The Greg Hill show last week, Wiggins said: ‘I guess the other player, I’m forgetting his name, I’m drawing a blank right now but they’ve said he had some situations in the past.
‘When you look at it – look at it again – he kind of kicks him. It looks like it wasn’t an accident.’
Sheffield Steelers player Petgrave, 31, fatally cut Johnson’s throat with his blade in what’s been described as a ‘freak accident’ when they collided during a match in front of 8,000 fans
Adam Johnson in action for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017
The incident on Saturday happened in the 35th minute of the Elite Ice Hockey League match at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena. The game was later abandoned.
Footage showed how Petgrave crashed into one of Johnson’s teammates on Saturday in a collision which saw him lose balance before his leg lifted up and made contact with Johnson’s neck.
Following the incident during Saturday’s Challenge Cup tie, both the Panthers and the EIHL described the collision as a ‘freak accident’ but police are investigating Johnson’s death and Petgrave has been subject to horrendous taunts and racial abuse.
Video of the incident showed Johnson getting to his feet, with blood pouring on to the ice. He was helped by a referee and a teammate as he headed off the rink, but collapsed on to the ice.
He received immediate medical attention, with CPR performed on the ice, and was taken to hospital but could not be saved.
More to follow.
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