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Minnesota Youth Hockey Camp creates Adam Johnson Memorial Scholarship in late alum's honor

Minnesota Youth Hockey Camp creates Adam Johnson Memorial Scholarship in late alum's honor
Minnesota Youth Hockey Camp creates Adam Johnson Memorial Scholarship in late alum's honor

 


Adam Johnson Memorial Scholarship Hockey

FILE – Floral tributes for Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson, who died last year from a cut to the neck from a skate, rests outside the Motorpoint Arena before a memorial ice hockey match between the Panthers and the Manchester Storm in Nottingham, England, November 18, 2023. A youth hockey camp in Minnesota is honoring the life of late alum Johnson with a scholarship in his honor. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey Writer

A youth hockey camp in Minnesota has announced the creation of the Adam Johnson Memorial Scholarship in honor of the 29-year-old player who died in October from a skate cut to the neck playing in a match in England.

Johnson grew up attending Bulldog Hockey Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. The scholarship is intended for a youth player whose family would otherwise not have the means to participate in the camp.

Camp director and University of Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey operations director Christian Koelling said the idea came from Johnson's family as a way to honor him.

Adam was someone who was very important to me personally, along with the UMD hockey program and the Duluth community and Iron Range community, Koelling told The Associated Press on Monday. As a hockey player he was such a unique talent, and as a person he was just so memorable. He was unique. He was a calmer kid, more relaxed, but just had a great sense of humor and he was a great teammate and really someone that everyone enjoyed being around, someone that you could count on. It really made an impression on us from a very young age.

Koelling, his wife Jennie and the memorial fund will pay the $500 registration fee for one of the weeklong camps this summer at the UMD arena. In addition to going through the camps growing up, Johnson worked at the camp while playing at the school from 2015 to 2017.

His father played at UMD, so our coaching staff knew Adam from a very young age, Koelling said. (We got to see) him growing up in Hibbing and coming to our hockey camps and working with him there, and then having him play for the Bulldogs for two years before he went on and had a nice professional career, including achieving the lifelong goal of every Northern Minnesota hockey player to play in the NHL.

Johnson made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in March 2019, the first of 13 games he played with them before returning to the American Hockey League and then shifting his career to Europe. Johnson spent time in Sweden and Germany before signing with the United Kingdom's Nottingham Panthers Elite ice hockey league last year.

His tragic death helped restart debate about the importance of cut-resistant equipment, including neck and wrist guards, and urged the continuous evolution of equipment that similar situations can occur in hockey. The International Ice Hockey Federation And American hockey have since implemented neck tear protection mandates.

The NHL and the NHL Players' Association have been studying skate cut injuries and how to reduce and avoid them for several years, and that discussion continues. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly during the annual competition pre-press conference Stanley Cup Final said earlier this month: Clearly, this year's events have opened everyone's eyes and brought a much greater focus to it.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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