• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

‘Anything to save a life’


Dec 31, 2023 #Sports


Adam Johnson’s death in October was a freak event that’s been seen once in a generation.

The former NHL player died at age 29 after a skate cut his neck during a professional game in England; the incident led to the arrest of a man for manslaughter.

It’s not the first time skates have resulted in gory injuries, but this one in particular has prompted change due to the unfortunate end result.

The International Ice Hockey Federation has made neck guards mandatory on all levels, including the Olympics. Those participating in the ongoing World Juniors tournament are currently wearing them. The league in which Johnson was playing at the time of his fatal injury also made them mandatory, and they’ve also been seen on several NHL players.


Pat LaFontaine

Pat Lafontaine of the New York Islanders skates circa 1980. (Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not uncommon to see injuries cut careers short, but that can’t be said for lives.

Pat LaFontaine is a member of the former group, having suffered numerous concussions during his Hall of Fame career and being forced to hang up the skates earlier than he wanted.

LaFontaine starred for the New York Islanders dynasty that won four Stanley Cups in a row, and it’s not particularly rare to see the elder generation not want to adapt with the times in sports, whether it be celebrations, safety, rules or anything beyond.

But LaFontaine knows there are much bigger things on the line when players take the ice.

“A player should wear as many things, as many protective gear items, that he or she can have,” LaFontaine told Fox News Digital prior to Wednesday’s Islanders game against the team Johnson once played for: the Pittsburgh Penguins

Adam Johnson skates

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Adam Johnson is shown on Sept. 20, 2017. (Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


“The scary thing about hockey is it doesn’t happen very often, but we also use equipment that can cut. I remember what tragically happened, it seems to happen every once in a while, and kind of just realize how great the sport is but how dangerous it can be. And it’s not much to put in. … It takes an extra two seconds to pop on a neck guard.”

To take it a step further, LaFontaine says it’s up to his generation to make this one and future ones aware of the dangers of the sport.

“I’m all about safety, I’m all about trying to create a safe and positive environment for the next generation, and the highest levels are the examples that needs to trickle down,” he said. “I have no problem with anything that can help potentially save somebody’s life.”

Fans memorial for Adam Johnson

Flower tributes for Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson are seen outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, on Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)


“If it can save one person, then it’s worth it. We just went through a tragedy. I’m all about player safety. It’s part of our generation to make sure we keep it safe for the next generation.”

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