sport news Inside the brutal world of ice hockey: The 'most dangerous' pro sport there is, ... trends now
The sport of ice hockey has been thrust into the spotlight after the tragic death of Nottingham Panthers star Adam Johnson over the weekend.
During a match against Sheffield Steelers, Johnson, 29, had his throat cut by the blade of opponent Matt Petgrave, leaving the 8,000 fans in attendance horrified.
Tributes have poured in for Johnson from the ice hockey community and beyond, while his team-mate Westin Michaud has defended Petgrave after he was shockingly accused of intentionally kicking Johnson prior to his death.
The English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) have taken swift action following Johnson's death by making neck guards mandatory for all players from 2024, and they have made a 'strong recommendation' that players use them before this date as well.
But is there still more that can be done to make the sport safer? After all, as one fan summed up on X on Saturday, ice hockey is 'probably the most dangerous sport on earth'.
Adam Johnson (pictured) passed away over the weekend after having his throat cut by the blade of an ice skate during an ice hockey match
Fights regularly break out in ice hockey, and those involved are often not automatically ejected
Multiple players can get involved, leading to ugly scenes on the ice at times
Let's first take a look at the role of the 'enforcers'.
These players are also sometimes referred to as the 'fighter', as that is exactly what they do.
They are tasked with responding to foul play from opponents by fighting or checking them, and they don't often need a second invitation to get involved.
Enforcers have also been known to take boxing lessons to improve their skills, highlighting how seriously they take their role.
We then move onto the players known as 'pests'.
These are the ultimate wind-up merchants, players who look to rile their opponents up through overly-physical play or verbal abuse. If they get a reaction, they have done their job.
When you have pests looking to start fights and enforcers only too happy to be part of them, physical confrontations on the rink are inevitable.
According to Insidetherink.com, there were 334 official fights in the National Hockey League (NHL) - widely seen as the sport's gold-standard division - during the 2022-23 season.
Remarkably, that figure is significantly lower than it was at the turn of the millennium, but that is still a high number of fights across the course of a campaign.
In pretty much any other sport, getting into a fight would automatically get a player