LEGAL experts have revealed whether Matt Petgrave is likely to face prosecution over the death of ice hockey star Adam Johnson.
The Nottingham Panthers forward, 29, suffered a gash to the neck in a collision with the ice skate of Sheffield Steelers' Petgrave on Saturday.
Johnson collapsed on the ice and received emergency treatment at the Utilita Arena before he was rushed to hospital, but later died of his injuries.
Footage from the match shows Petgrave's leg being sent into the air after he was knocked off-balance, before his ice skate strikes Johnson's neck.
The collision was described as a "freak accident" by the Panthers, with Petgrave said to be "absolutely distraught". There has been no suggestion of wrongdoing.
But South Yorkshire Police has confirmed it is carrying out "a range of enquiries", including having sought help from "specialised experts", as part of a probe into Johnson's death.
Read more sport
Police give update on ice hockey star's death & say they are reviewing video
Ice hockey star was 'brought back to life in ambulance' before dying in surgery
However, university legal professor Nicola Lacey has said it is "very unlikely" Petgrave will be charged with a criminal offence
She told Newsweek: "It seems very unlikely the CPS would prosecute.
"For manslaughter you need either gross negligence – a really large departure from normal standards of care such as to justify criminal liability; or an unlawful and dangerous act – the latter only likely if for example there had be a pretty flagrant breach of the sport's rules.
"If it was really a 'freak accident,' neither of those tests would be met; and the CPS can only prosecute where there is a realistic chance of conviction."
Most read in Sport
‘TOUGH TO WATCH’
Ex-NHL player says rival was ‘trying’ to hit star who died in fatal clash
Man Utd flops blast Ten Hag tactics and decisions on defence & Fernandes
Fuming Ten Hag ordered Utd flops to sit in SILENCE and listen to City party
BALLON D’OR 2023
Messi WINS eighth Ballon d’Or trophy ahead of Prem star Haaland
It comes after ex-NHL player Sean Avery claimed Petgrave was "trying" to make contact with Johnson.
Avery, who played for four NHL clubs across more than a decade, admitted he's struggled to watch footage of the collision.
Appearing on Fox News, Avery said stopped short of agreeing when host Jesse Watters said Petgrave was a "dirty" player and the collision looked like "murder"
Johnson immediately fell to the floor following the collision.
He responded: "That's a pretty dangerous word to be throwing around. I've watched it, it's terrible, it's tough to watch.
"Did this kid make a move that was very unorthodox? Do I think he was trying to make contact of some sort? Absolutely."
The retired Canadian star added: "Do I think he woke up and said I'm going to murder somebody today? No."
Johson's teammate, meanwhile, defended Petgrave.
Westin Michaud, 27, posted on X: "I need to address something about the accident. We wholeheartedly stand with Matt Petgrave. The hate that Matt is receiving is terrible and completely uncalled for.
"I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident, I saw both players moving fast.
"The unintentional clip of the Panther player's leg by the Sheffield player caused the somersault. It's clear to me his actions were unintentional and anyone suggesting otherwise is mistaken.
"Let's come together and not spread unwarranted hate to someone who needs [our] support."
Johnson fell to the floor following the collision with Petgrave in the 35th minute of the game.
Blood was seen covering the ice as he was helped to his feet and towards the side of the rink by a teammate and referee.
But he collapsed a few paces later, with paramedics rushing to his aid.
Players formed a protective ring around him to provide privacy, while his fiancee Ryan Wolfe rushed to be by his side.
Protective screens were then brought out as the 8,000 fans in attendance were sent home.
Johnson was taken to hospital, where he is understood to have been back to life in an ambulance before dying during surgery.
His aunt Kari Johnson was watching the game on a live-stream from her home in Minnesota when the "horrific" collision took place, The Times reports.
She told local outlet KSTP-TV: "We saw it happen. It was horrific. I cannot even describe it because nobody should have to live through what we saw.
“The skate cut right through Adam’s windpipe, and it cut his carotid artery.
"At one point, they had lost him in the ambulance and they brought him back.
"He didn’t make it through surgery once they got him to the hospital.
"They just couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. He lost way too much blood. Just seeing it was traumatic."
Hundreds of fans gathered to pay their respects outside the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, the Panthers' home venue, throughout Sunday and Monday.
Read More on The Sun
I’m not picky but my son’s Minion cake is the ugliest I’ve ever seen
I worked at Greggs for 50 years & can't believe one of its top lines took off
Supporters of both the Panthers and the Steelers will also hold vigils in both Nottingham and Sheffield on Saturday, gathering at 8pm ahead of a minute's silence.
The Elite Ice Hockey League has confirmed the Panthers' next three games have been postponed as players are "still coming to terms with the events of Saturday night".
Source: Read Full Article