OXFORD City Stars are to introduce mandatory neck guards following the tragic death of Adam Johnson.

The Nottingham Panthers player died following a freak accident during a game at Sheffield Steelers on Saturday evening. The 29-year-old American reportedly suffered a slashed neck during the second period of the game.

Stars postponed their NIHL Division 1 South fixture at home to MK Thunder yesterday after Johnson’s death was announced.

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On the introduction of mandatory neck guards for players and coaching staff, Stars said in a statement: “In the wake of the tragic incident involving Adam Johnson, who sadly lost his life in a freak in-game accident, Oxford City Stars is advancing its commitment to enhance player safety.

“The club is proud to announce the introduction of mandatory neck guards for all players and coaching staff.

“The club has ordered and is now awaiting delivery of neck guards for all players and coaches. Once received, these guards will be utilised during all on-ice activities going forward.

“With the safety and wellbeing of our athletes at the forefront of this initiative, Oxford City Stars is taking the responsibility of providing specially designed neck guards for every member of the team.

“These guards will be a non-negotiable component of their attire during all practices and games, providing an extra layer of protection.

“In a poignant tribute to Adam Johnson’s memory, this commitment signifies not only a significant moment for the Oxford City Stars, but also a cornerstone in advocating for enhanced safety standards across the sport.

“We encourage other clubs to also offer these neck guards to their players. At our level of play, we strongly believe that these guards should be worn by all players.”

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Shane Moore, head of hockey operations at the Stars, added: “This decision reinforces our dedication to player safety.

“We want to ensure that every possible measure is taken to protect our athletes while they are doing what they love.

“Safety must be a fundamental aspect of our actions, and we are grateful to all our players and coaching staff for their support in moving this initiative forward.

“We hope to serve as positive role models for both current and future players, showcasing that safety should always be the top priority.

“A life has tragically been taken too soon in a freak accident, and if wearing neck guards can prevent another devastating loss, then we want to ensure we have done everything within our power to protect our players.”

Panthers paid tribute to Johnson, saying: “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.”