Adam Johnson tribute plans announced as Fife Flyers and Glasgow Clan set for first game since tragic death

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Ice hockey fans will unite in tribute for Adam Johnson as the first EIHL ice hockey games are played since the tragic death of the Nottingham Panthers player. He was fatally injured in a freak on-ice accident while playing against Sheffield Steelers last weekend.

The four Elite League games which go ahead tonight include Fife Flyers against Glasgow Clan at Fife Ice Arena. Fans from both teams will join a tribute to the Canadian player before the puck is dropped. The league said it invited all to join in a minute's silence, followed by a minute's applause - it also “actively encouraged” further, fan-led tributes during the game – the supporters club is planning a 47th minute applause in honour of the #47 jersey number Johnson wore.

The EIHL has also addressed the use of neck guards following the tragedy. It hasn’t made their use mandatory, but encouraged all players and officials to wear one.

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A spokesperson said: "Player safety and welfare is our top priority and we work with players, officials, clubs, and the relevant authorities to review research and advice to understand how we continually enhance the safety of our sport. All clubs continue to follow the existing guidance from the International Ice Hockey Federation, that the use of a BNQ or other ISO Standard neck laceration protector is recommended. The Elite Ice Hockey League strongly encourages players and officials to wear one and clubs and the League will continue to support players and officials to do so."

Fans return to Fife Ice Arena tonight for the first time since the death of Adam Johnson (Pic: Fife Free Press)Fans return to Fife Ice Arena tonight for the first time since the death of Adam Johnson (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Fans return to Fife Ice Arena tonight for the first time since the death of Adam Johnson (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The Scottish Ice Hockey Association (SIHA) has also written to its member clubs to outline a three-step approach to adopting the new safety gear.

In the short term, it has mad a “strong recommendation” that all players at all levels across use an approved neck guard. This is in place until December 31 when they will become mandatory with immediate effect.

The reason for the interim step is to manage anticipated supply issues as leagues around the world move to adopting neck guards as part of players’ kit.

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In the medium term - within 12 months, the Scottish association will conduct a player safety equipment review which will look at everything including helmets, mouthguards and facial protection.

In the long term, it will also provide clubs with clear guidance on the ongoing and continuous improvement of player safety and their duties within this area.

John Colley, chairman said: “The safety of our players must be our first priority. We have an absolute duty to do everything within our power to prevent a tragic accident like this from ever happening in our sport again. It is highly possible that other reviews will take place at an international level and Scottish Ice Hockey will participate proactively in this process.”