Jul 10, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT
Jack Johnson is a specimen of a defenseman, but sometimes his high-risk, high-reward style gives him a bit of a “shaggy dog” reputation. While he has some learning to do in his own end, he also acknowledges that he’d like to hit the books off the ice too. In a nice (and sadly rare) story, Johnson is working toward earning his degree at his former school, the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor.com has more.
Each summer, the fourth-year Los Angeles Kings defenseman returns to Ann Arbor, enrolls in summer school and continues to chip away at his general studies degree. Although he hasn’t experienced life as a full-time student for three years, Johnson relishes his time on campus.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Johnson said on Thursday. “If it was easy, everyone who left would do it. I’m not in a race to get it, but I know if I stop, it will be hard to start up again.
“I can’t play hockey forever, unfortunately. I will have the second half of my life ahead of me, and I want that degree.”
During the NHL season, Johnson, who is 23, takes classes online, using off-days to study and complete coursework. Technology, including video conferencing and Web tutorials, has made distance learning easier, but balancing school with an NHL career isn’t easy.
It’s funny that Johnson is maintaining his connection to his college hockey days and his coach Red Berenson because, not too long ago, a surprisingly candid story surfaced in which Kings GM Dean Lombardi discussed the young defenseman’s lack of structure with the Wolverines.
When people discuss the Kings’ troubles in landing Ilya Kovalchuk, Johnson is often cited alongside star Drew Doughty and rugged forward Wayne Simmonds as players Lombardi would hope to keep. My guess is that those wounds will heal up at some point, but you have to wonder if Johnson has any hard feelings toward the franchise.
Either way, it’s a nice story even if it’s a bit sad that it’s such a rare occurrence in hockey and all sports, really.
(H/T to Cassie from Raw Charge.)
- Sens’ Alfredsson: We probably won’t win this series 13
- Discuss: Penguins overwhelm Senators to take Game 4 37
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting 49
- Gillis: Vigneault fired because results weren’t there 19
- Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown 31
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? 96
- Playoffs Tonight: Senators confident they can beat Penguins 38
- Video: Kings denied a goal after quick whistle 29
- Tweet from L.A. Kings Twitter account stirs controversy 62
- Discuss: Sharks take Game 4, even semifinal series against Kings 15
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (92)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call (64)
- LeBron stuns Pacers with OT winner in Game 1
- Pens overwhelm Sens, take 3-1 series lead
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- HBT: Canseco suspect in Vegas sexual assault
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- OlyTalk: Coach K will lead Team USA in Rio Games