Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers team-mates pay emotional tribute with a memorial game as they retire his No 47 jersey after his death… with thousands turning out to celebrate a ‘remarkable person’

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Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammates have paid an emotional tribute to the former ice hockey star in their first match since his tragic death.

Johnson, 29, died after an opponent’s skate severed his neck during a match in Sheffield on October 28. A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

The Panthers took to the ice at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday to stage a memorial match and ‘celebrate the life of Adam and the remarkable person he was’.

A tribute to Johnson was held before the match and the 10,000 spectators in the venue stood to applaud in the 47th minute, a nod to Johnson’s number.

The crowd chanted Johnson’s name and clapped as both teams formed a circle around the center line. The players then hit the ice with their sticks.

Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammates paid tribute ahead of a memorial match

Thousands gathered at the Motorpoint Arena to remember Johnson after his tragic death

Thousands gathered at the Motorpoint Arena to remember Johnson after his tragic death

Flowers, cards and jerseys were left outside the venue as emotions ran high before the game

Flowers, cards and jerseys were left outside the venue as emotions ran high before the game

A large sign above the rink proclaimed Johnson “Forever Our 47.”

It has been confirmed that the friendly against Manchester Storm will not count towards either team’s Elite Ice Hockey League results.

Johnson’s family watches their game from their home in Minnesota.

The Panthers revealed they will retire their number 47 jersey out of respect for Johnson, with the news announced in a post on the club’s official social media pages.

“We are honored to announce that we are retiring Adam Johnson’s #47 jersey,” they wrote. ‘Forever our 47.’

Outside the arena, supporters laid wreaths, flowers and jerseys.

Johnson, 29, died after an opponent's skate severed his neck during a match in October

Johnson, 29, died after an opponent’s skate severed his neck during a match in October

His girlfriend, Ryan Wolfe, found an engagement ring that he planned to use to propose

His girlfriend, Ryan Wolfe, found an engagement ring that he planned to use to propose

The man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been released on bail.

After the collision, Johnson was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination revealed that he had died as a result of a fatal neck injury.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed the arrest on Tuesday but said the next day the man had been released on bail. The investigation is still ongoing.

The Panthers next play their first Elite League match since Johnson’s death on November 26 against Belfast Giants at the Motorpoint Arena.

Omar Pacha, the club’s CEO, thanked supporters for their patience.

The Panthers have confirmed they will retire Johnson's No. 47 jersey as a show of their respect

The Panthers have confirmed they will retire Johnson’s No. 47 jersey as a show of their respect

Johnson was named “Forever Our 47” at the game, and memorabilia was also available for purchase

Johnson was named “Forever Our 47” at the game, and memorabilia was also available for purchase

“We want to honor Adam and everything about who he was as a person and as a player,” he said.

“It will undoubtedly be an emotional evening, but also a special one as we come together to remember Adam, but this is also an important process in getting the team back on the ice.

‘Each player goes through his own process and there is no pressure on any player.’

Johnson previously played thirteen times for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL.

His girlfriend, Ryan Wolfe, found an engagement ring that he planned to use to propose, family friends have heartbreakingly revealed.

“His grandmother told me that he showed her (Johnson’s grandmother) the ring before he left and that he was going to propose at some point,” said Scott Pionk, whose son played college hockey with Johnson, told USA Today.