‘Traumatised’ team-mate of Adam Johnson quits Nottingham Panthers after sharing that he ‘tried to suppress everything’ after witnessing the player’s fatal on-ice collision

A Nottingham Panthers player who was on the ice when Adam Johnson’s throat was fatally slit in a collision has quit the team weeks after describing the incident as “the most traumatizing thing he has ever experienced.”

Victor Bjorkung was part of the squad fielded by the Panthers in their match against Sheffield Steelers in October, in which Johnson was injured in the melee after a skate severed his neck.

The tragic accident – ​​witnessed by around 8,000 fans at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield – sent shockwaves through the ice hockey community both in England and around the world.

But Johnson’s loss was especially felt by his teammates, as Bjorkung revealed in an interview with the Swedish outlet Express Since his death, he has been working with psychologists and a trauma team.

“I tried to suppress a lot,” Bjorkung said. “You’re so shocked right now, everything is happening so damn fast.

Victor Bjorkung (right) has left Nottingham Panthers following the death of Adam Johnson

The Panthers paid tribute to Johnson in a memorial match against the Storm on Saturday

Fans left hundreds of tributes to the 29-year-old at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham

“One minute you have your friend there, the next minute he’s gone.

“Being on the ice when a friend I’m close to dies like that. It’s terrible. It happened so damn fast,” he continued. “I was standing a few feet away from him and I have a lot of memory problems, but I was told that I passed the puck to him on the left wing and then it takes a few seconds before… well, everyone knows what happens then.’

Panthers announced the departure of their player on Monday, stating that the player himself had informed the club that he would not return.

“We are sad to lose a member of this close-knit team, but fully respect and understand his decision not to return,” their statement read, before recording a farewell letter from the 31-year-old.

‘I enjoyed every second of playing for the club and my teammates. I am beyond proud of them. The fans have been great from day one, thank you for everything,” said Bjorkung.

“I don’t know where hockey will take me next, but I will take all the good memories and play in honor of Adam.”

Bjorkung’s departure comes in the wake of Saturday’s memorial match for Johnson against Manchester Storm.

Hundreds of messages and floral tributes were left outside the Motorpoint Arena, and before the match started, Panthers announced they would be retiring Johnson’s No. 47 jersey.

The former NHL player was fatally injured in an accident in which he suffered a skate in his neck

The club has retired his No. 47 jersey and painted a lasting message to Johnson on the ice

Several players wore neck protectors during the friendly after the coroner leading the inquest called for the equipment to be made mandatory

The arena previously hosted a memorial where supporters could sign a book of condolence

Storm played the match for the occasion in commemorative Johnson jerseys, which were later sold to raise money for a foundation set up by the player’s family.

The majority of Panthers players appeared to be wearing neck protectors that night, with at least fourteen wearing the safety equipment that the coroner involved in an inquest into Johnson’s death said was mandatory in the sport.

The English Ice Hockey Association will make neck protectors mandatory from 2024, but the division in which the Panthers appear – the Elite Ice Hockey League – has announced that it has no current plans to follow suit.

An inquest into Johnson’s death was opened two weeks ago but has continued into the new year.

Last week a man was arrested on charges of manslaughter by South Yorkshire Police but was later released on bail.