Wisconsin women's hockey coach Mark Johnson has a résumé that is pretty hard to beat. It is tedious to rattle off every single one of his accomplishments over his illustrious career but Thursday it all was accounted for in Minnesota when Johnson was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
"Thursday was a special night," Johnson said. "It was a night to really get an opportunity to thank a lot of people that had a big influence on my playing career, on my coaching career. So it was a big thrill, it was a lot of fun, a lot of family members were there, a lot of friends were there so it was a neat night."
Johnson already has a place in the Hall of Fame for his contributions on the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. In the miraculous run for the gold medal, Johnson scored two goals against the highly favored Soviet Union and registered an assist on the goal that clinched the gold against Finland.
"It's nice because as a young player a seed was planted as far as wearing a USA jersey and representing the country and any opportunity or phone call I got to do that I certainly didn't pass on it," Johnson said. "It's a big thrill to wear your colors and play for your country and win hockey games and hear your national anthem."
The gold medal was not the final accomplishment for Johnson. He continued onto the NHL ice for an 11-year tenure with various teams. In 699 games throughout his career he scored 203 goals and 305 assists. Prior to his time in the NHL and at the Olympics, Johnson was a star at Wisconsin from 1976-79. His 125 goals still makes him UW's all-time leading goal scorer.
After his playing days were over, Johnson went on to find success as a coach. He has worked with high school teams, national teams, and of course; Wisconsin hockey teams. For seven years he served as the men's team assistant and then in 2002 he took over the reigns of the women's hockey program. After a 22-win season in his first year he was named the WCHA Co-Coach of the Year. Johnson even went a step further and built on that success the following season. He led the team to a school record 25 wins and made Wisconsin known as one of the teams to beat.
Whether it's on the national level or in Wisconsin, Mark Johnson has established himself as a household hockey name and in the process earned much-deserved respect from players, coaches and fans. No matter how well the women's team fares this season, Johnson's legacy will live on with his induction into the Hall of Fame.
"It's so awesome to have a guy like that running our team," sophomore left wing Lindsay Macy said about her coach. "Him getting all those honors; it's just so awesome because that brings people to our games and know our sport a little bit better. We get a lot of respect because he's our coach. It's not taking anything away from our team; it happens a lot. I think it's awesome and it's great for women's hockey all-around."
Johnson enjoys Hall of Fame moment
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