Not So Fast, Skater Boy

The UK police are apparently much less inclined to excuse the outrageous killing of a hockey player by another player than the global media is:

ITEM 1: NHL player Adam Johnson died on live TV after Matt Petgrave slashed his throat with his skate. Petgrave has a history of bad behavior in the EIHL, including racking up the most penalty minutes and getting booted out of games. The media quickly has declared it a total accident, but many viewers and expert hockey players are not convinced.

ITEM 2: A man has been arrested for the manslaughter of Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson after his tragic death last month. The 29-year-old American ice hockey star was reportedly killed after a skate slashed his throat in a collision during a match against Sheffield Steelers on October 28, causing a fatal neck injury.

Like pretty much every other man who grew up in Minnesota in the 1960s-1980s, I played ice hockey from a very young age. I played for eight years, and if it hadn’t been for a) early morning ice times, b) pretty girls on the ski slopes, and c) indoor winter tennis, I almost certainly would have played varsity in high school. I still consider the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament to be the third-best televised sporting event after a) NFL Redzone and b) March Madness, although I haven’t been a particular fan of any team since the Minnesota Fighting Saints shut down after the 1977 season and the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993.

And as a former hockey player, I have absolutely no problem saying that the kick that killed Adam Johnson was 100 percent intentional. I never, ever, saw anything that even came close to resembling what Petgrave did in all my years of playing and watching hockey. I don’t believe the African player was trying to kill Johnson, but he was clearly attempting to harm the other player when he struck him with his skate, so if that’s not manslaughter, then nothing is. There is no way the incident was merely “an accident”.