Ice hockey star Matt Petgrave gets standing ovation as show of support after tragic Adam Johnson collision
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Sheffield Steelers fans gave Matt Petgrave a standing ovation at the Utilita Arena Sheffield after the team returned to the ice for the first time since the fatal collision with Adam Johnson last month.
Nottingham Panthers said in a statement: “The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam's family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.
“Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam's passing. Our thoughts are also with the fans and staff of both clubs, especially those who attended or were following the game, who will be devastated following today's news.
"The Panthers would like to thank everyone who rushed to support Adam last night in the most testing of circumstances.
"Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player, but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him. The club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.
"We ask that the privacy of Adam's family and friends, and everyone at the club is respected at this difficult time as we all seek to come to terms with out grief.
"Rest in peace Adam."
A spectator described the scene as 'like a bad dream I can't wake up from', saying Johnson's teammates formed a protective circle around him to shield him from onlookers before paramedics arrived.
In a tribute to Johnson, the audience at Sunday’s game - which saw the Steelers beat Coventry Blaze 2-1 - observed a minute’s silence followed by loud applause as the players hit their sticks against the ice.
Petgrave wasn’t playing on Sunday (12 November) but his photo flashed up on the big screen, prompting many fans to rise to their feet and applaud.
South Yorkshire Police are currently investigating the incident.
In an update on 31 October, the force said: “Since Saturday, detectives have been carrying out a range of enquiries including reviewing footage, talking to witnesses and seeking the advice and support of highly specialised experts to seek to understand the circumstances surrounding what happened.
“Our officers have now left the scene, however due to the complex nature of this tragic and unprecedented incident, it is likely the wider investigation will take some time.
'We continue to encourage the public to avoid speculation, including on social media, while we continue our enquiries and will provide updates when appropriate. Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of all those affected.”