Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward and 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ star Mark Johnson was named one of four recipients of the 2011 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States today.
Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Pulford, long-time USA Hockey executive Toni Rossi and college coaching legend Jeff Sauer will be honored alongside Johnson at a reception on Oct. 26 in t. Paul, Minn.
Johnson, 53, broke into the National Hockey League as a rookie with the Penguins late in the 1979-80 season just weeks after leading the United States to a gold medal in the 1980 Olympic Game in Lake Placid, N.Y. – arguably one of the greatest triumphs in sports history.
Johnson, the son of legendary Penguins head coach ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson, played parts of three seasons with Pittsburgh from 1980-82, posting 62 points (23G-39A) in 136 regular-season games and adding seven points (4G-3A) in 10 postseason contests. He was drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round (66th overall) of the 1977 NHL Entry Draft.
Johnson, who led the Americans in scoring at the ’80 Games and tallied twice against the Soviet Union in the dramatic 4-3 upset in the semifinal game, has enjoyed a successful career coaching women’s hockey since retiring from the NHL after 11 seasons in 1990.
A Minneapolis, Minn. native, Johnson has been the head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey team since 2002, winning four NCAA National Championships (2006, ’07, ’09 and ’11). Johnson also served as head coach of the 2010 United States Women’s Olympic squad which earned a silver medal.
The Lester Patrick Trophy, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.