Over last weekend, Sharks assistant coach Jim Johnson was inducted in to the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame. Johnson spent four years playing hockey for the Bulldogs and used his time in Duluth to springboard a 13-year NHL career.
From 1981-85 he skated in 174 of a possible 175 games, a record that still stands for the Bulldogs. Johnson was considered a stay-at-home defenseman who collected 13 goals and 70 assists in his collegiate career.
“I played with so many great players there,” recalled Johnson. “To have the opportunity to be singled out with my career there was very special. It was a great evening and a huge honor. I was thrilled to be a part of the weekend.”
Johnson, who currently holds multiple Bulldogs hockey records, created another first at his university when his son, Derick Johnson, presented the honor to his father. It marked the first time a current athlete at UMD has ever bestowed the honor on an alum.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to introduce me,” said Johnson. “He did a fantastic job. It meant so much to me. It was impressive the way he handled himself in front of all of those people and the things he had to say about not only his program but what I meant to him growing up. It was a special moment that I’ll never forget and I’m sure he really enjoyed it.”
During his time in Duluth, Johnson and his teammates won three WCHA titles and appeared in two Final Fours. Individually Johnson served as a co-captain and was named to multiple All-WCHA, All-DECC, and WCHA All-Academic teams. But of all the achievements, it should not come as a surprise that the one Johnson holds most memorable is one that relates to family. Some 30 years before having his son introduce his enshrinement to the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame; Johnson met his wife to be.
“The reason you go to school is to not only get your degree, but to meet lifelong friends,” said Johnson. “I happened to meet my wife there and we’ve been married for 26 years. That place holds a lot of special memories. I’m very grateful for that honor.”