‘He wasn’t just a hockey player’: Remembering Adam Johnson

Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 3:06 AM CST
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HIBBING, MN. (Northern News Now) -- More than a week after a horrible accident took the life of Adam Johnson, those who knew the pro-hockey player best, gathered in his hometown of Hibbing, to lay him to rest.

Monday, inside this Hibbing Memorial Building, 3,000 people came together to remember and say farewell, to a hockey star, friend and family member, gone far too soon.

“We have to remember the legacy of Adam is, is how many people he touched throughout his life, and the importance of him to everybody,” said Jim Perunovich, a family friend of the Johnson’s.

The service was held on the very hockey rink Adam grew up skating on, which was off-limits to the media.

Following the memorial, two men were chosen by Johnson’s parents to speak on behalf of the family and shared their memories of Adam.

“They’re not here because he was a hockey player,” said Perunovich. “He was just an outstanding kid.”

“Once he got warmed up around my kids and his friends, at the weddings we have been to the last four years, as soon as he walked in its, “Johnson’s here! Johnson what’s up! Adam’s here,”' said Scott Pionk, a family friend of the Johnson’s. “The whole place got better.”

Pionk and Perunovich saying that even after Adam graduated from UMD, played in the NHL and then overseas, he was still that hometown kid who set a great example to others.

Adam’s impact on the next generation of Hibbing hockey players made clear during Monday’s service, as many young hockey players showed up wearing Adam Johnson’s number.

“He’s a hero for all these little kids,” said Perunovich. “It’s tremendous, it’s really tremendous.” Jim Perunovich

The hockey player remembered for being a wonderful person, whose impact is now being felt in the hockey world, all around the globe.

“His outreach is beyond the city limits of Hibbing and state of Minnesota. Just a wonderful, wonderful human being,” said Perunovich.

While the Johnson Family is asking for continued privacy, they want to thank the thousands of people who have shown love and support during this difficult time.

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