The "On The Fly" series was so popular last season, DallasStars.com has extended it into the new campaign. In this offseason edition, senior staff writer Mike Heika sits down with defenseman Stephen Johns, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, to chat about his charity golf tournament, growing up in a small town, summer activities and more.
Mike Heika: You held your annual charity golf tournament near your hometown of Wampum, Pa. last week. Who did you support and how did it go?
Stephen Johns: We did it for 22Kill this year and it was great. We had 44 teams and really had a great time. That was our fourth year and it has been a lot of fun.
22Kill is a non-profit group that helps veterans and first-responders deal with the mental pressure of their job and is focused on suicide prevention. Johns also donates four tickets to every home game for military members and their families.
Video: Stephen Johns signs three-year contract extension
MH: You played golf when you were younger? Is this on the same course?
SJ: Yep. It's about a quarter mile from my house and I still play league there in the summer. There are a lot of great memories there.
MH: How did you get started in golf?
SJ: I was already playing hockey and my parents didn't want me to play football, and golf was in the fall up there, so I played golf instead. My older brother (Raymond) was already playing, so I joined the team and we had a couple of years together where it was just a blast.
Video: DAL@CHI: Johns hammers puck past Forsberg
MH: It makes for a pretty fun day when you play golf in high school, doesn't it?
SJ: Oh yeah, we'd get out of school around noon and hop on a bus and go straight to the golf course. It was a great sport to be in.
MH: You got your first hole-in-one this summer?
SJ: Yep, a week before the tournament. It was a par 3, about 168 yards, I used a pitching wedge. I hit the front of the green and it rolled in. It was super downhill.
Video: STL@DAL: Johns hammers puck by Allen to pad lead
MH: Wampum is listed as population 717. What was it like growing up in a small town?
SJ: My graduating class had 99 (people), so it's pretty small. We would go visit the rival town every now and then, but I enjoyed just staying around our town. It was cool being in a small town. You saw when we went and played in Pittsburgh how many people were at the game. It's a great feeling to be a part of that. I'm not sure I would have made it if I had grown up a different way. I have amazing friends and an amazing family. That really gave me a lot of drive.
Johns' father, Ray, works in a steel mill and his mother Noreen is a bookkeeper. He also has a younger sister, Leslie. He bought a house next to his brother, Ray, and the two enjoy summers outside with family and dogs.
MH: What do you do for fun in the summer?
SJ: I cut a lot of grass. Weed whack a lot. It keeps me busy.
Video: DAL@BOS: Johns fires wrist shot past Khudobin
MH: What kind of mower do you have?
SJ: It's a nice riding one. I had to get extra weight in the back because I have a pretty steep hill.
MH: Do you get fired up for Notre Dame football? Do you ever ponder what you would have been like as a football player?
SJ: I love sports, so I get fired up for football like everyone else. Notre Dame was good last year, so that helps. As for football, I would say I probably would have been a tight end. Definitely not a quarterback, my arm isn't good enough.
Johns played hockey for four seasons at Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 60th overall in 2010 and was traded to Dallas with Patrick Sharp for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt in 2015.
Video: BUF@DAL: Johns buries a wrister from the hashmarks
MH: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
SJ: Silver Maple. They're the coolest trees.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.
Read more: Stephen Johns, On the Fly, Dallas Stars