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HIBBING, MINN. — Twice in a memorial held at his former home arena, Adam Johnson was referred to as a "hometown hero" — so it was fitting that announcer Dan Marich sent the packed building's worth of mourners out one last time by really winding up on the player's name.

In his throatiest, most energetic voice, the public address announcer drew out "No. 7 Adam Johnnnnnson!" and some of the 3,000 people in attendance at Hibbing Memorial Building Arena gave the late player one final standing ovation. Then the house band — keyboard, guitar, drums and singers parked in the rink's bench area — segued into a rollicking take on "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC — a song Johnson had long wanted to master on his royal-blue guitar.

People left smiling, if not singing.

While the world learned the circumstances of Johnson's sudden death — he died after he was struck in the neck with a skate blade while playing for the Nottingham Panthers nearly two weeks ago in England — it was in his first hockey community where those who knew him for his mischievous grin and chronic ribbing turned out to pay respects.

The tribute drew far-flung former teammates, including a handful now playing for the Winnipeg Jets, leadership from the Nottingham Panthers, and the entirety of the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team — where he spent two years under the leadership of coach Scott Sandelin, also of Hibbing.

About a dozen speakers, none dry-eyed, took to center ice near a large image of Johnson's big, oft-referenced grin. Members of his family sat on chairs on the ice, some with Hibbing Blue Jackets blankets in their laps.

Former Hibbing High School coach Mark DeCenzo struggled to start his tribute or the "Serenity Prayer" he offered for comfort. He remembered Johnson as dynamic and electrifying — his jersey "flapping in the wind" as he skated up the ice. As he got choked up and paused, Adam's father, Davey Johnson, who also played for Minnesota Duluth, went to the podium and put his arm around the coach.

"He was a great person who just happened to be a great hockey player," DeCenzo said.

It was hockey that brought Johnson into the public eye, though. He was a star at Hibbing High School, described by former teammates as quick-witted, sarcastic and having a heart of gold and a unique way of making people feel welcome. He was small and skinny back then, an effortless skater and the glue that held a team together.

The Blue Jackets advanced to the State Class A tournament in 2011. Johnson scored a natural hat trick in the semifinals — but it wasn't enough to top Hermantown. The season, though, remains a highlight for his former teammates.

"Adam exploded on the ice," said former Hibbing teammate Mike Pechovnik.

Johnson played for Sioux City in the United States Hockey League before joining the Bulldogs from 2015 to '17 — a big recruit for Sandelin because of Johnson's Iron Range roots and family connection to the Bulldogs. His uncle Gary DeGrio also played for UMD. In his most talked-about moment as a Bulldog, Johnson scored an overtime goal against Boston College to help the team advance to the Frozen Four in 2017.

A banner featuring Johnson from that tournament hung from the rafters during Monday's ceremony.

Johnson left the Bulldogs and went on to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins, his first NHL goal scored while playing against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

The number 7 flashed on a digital display outside in front of the arena, a memorial growing beneath it: flowers, hockey sticks, jerseys, pucks, photographs and notes. In the building's lobby, poster boards showed photographs from his life: Johnson as a kid in a Twins jersey, a Bulldogs' jersey and an adult in lederhosen. He smiled from boats, from Rome, and in a mirror selfie with his fiancée Ryan Wolfe. In a slideshow, he was shown hugging his mom, hugging a nephew, hugging his sister-in-law Ebony Johnson — who was his athletic competition and friend before she married his brother Ryan.

Ebony Johnson said that Uncle Adam worried her kids would forget him while he was off playing hockey. Impossible, she said.

"The guy was literally always on TV," she said, then turned her message to her late friend. "Your life was way too short, but it had one hell of a purpose."