December 2, 2023

Brighton Journal

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The decade-old video appears to “show Matt Pitgrave performing the same maneuver that led to the death on the ice on Saturday in England.”

The decade-old video appears to “show Matt Pitgrave performing the same maneuver that led to the death on the ice on Saturday in England.”
  • Hockey player Adam Johnson tragically died during a game on October 28
  • Johnson’s neck was snapped after colliding with Matt Pitgrave on the ice
  • provides the latest international sports news

A video surfaced more than a dozen years ago showing Matt Pitgrave making an illegal move similar to the one that led to the death of Adam Johnson last Saturday.

Johnson was killed during an Elite Ice Hockey League game in England when his throat was cut by Pitgrave’s skate after a collision. His death on October 28 remains under investigation by South Yorkshire Police.

Now, user The clip appears to show Pitgrave throwing his left elbow and right leg at an opposing player, sending him flying into the air and hitting the ice neck and upper back first.

The incident appears to have occurred during Petgrave’s first season in the Ontario Hockey League, when he was playing for the Niagara IceDogs. Both players involved appear to walk away from the collision without injury.

The video will be from 2009 or 2010, which shows the grainy quality, but the player wearing the black number 26 shirt is purported to be Pitgrave.

Old footage of Pitgrave allegedly lifting his leg during the collision has emerged on Twitter.

Petgrave is listed on the Canadian Hockey League’s official website as wearing number 26 for the Niagara IceDogs during the 2009-10 season.

The clip can be traced back to the OHL based on the graphic shown during the replay.

The two teams playing in the game can also be identified as the IceDogs and the now-defunct Plymouth Whalers based on the score during the live snapshot.

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The player who took the illegal hit, the Whalers’ 27th, is alleged to be Robbie Czarnik. Both Petgrave and Czarnik’s names can be heard on the broadcast.

Both Czarnik and Petgrave never played in the NHL.

Pittgrave’s incident with Johnson looked much worse than the video above allegedly showing the 17-year-old.

“Did this kid make a very unorthodox move?” Do I think he was trying to make some kind of connection? Absolutely, former NHL player Sean Avery said earlier this week. ‘Do I think he woke up and said, ‘I’m going to kill someone today?’ No.’

Local police in England issued a statement on Tuesday saying: “Given the complex nature of this tragic and unprecedented incident, the wider investigation is likely to take some time.”

Johnson previously played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League
Pitgrave played in Canada and the United States before moving to Europe
Nottingham Panthers fans have started a memorial to Johnson following his tragic death

The OHL hit above will likely be called for a knee penalty in the NHL. No discipline can be seen in the above video.

In the NHL, a knee violation can range from a two-minute penalty to an ejection with a possible suspension. Based on the severity of the call in the alleged video involving Petgrave, he will likely be suspended for several games.

Following Johnson’s death, the English Ice Hockey Association, which oversees English and Welsh hockey below the level where Pitgrave and Johnson played, announced the mandate of the neck guard from 2024.

Washington Capitals forward TJ O’Shea wore a neck guard during Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders.