The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are a little more than a year away, and the U.S. women's hockey team named its coach . Mark Johnson .
"He comes to this assignment with some extremely unique credentials, which gave him a bit of an advantage," said USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean. "He has played in the games and he knows what the ultimate pressure is about of competing for a gold medal as an athlete."
Probably his best known claim to fame is as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, aka the Miracle on Ice. In the Soviet game alone he had two game-tying goals as explained and shown in this YouTube clip .
Also read what USAToday's Kevin Allen thinks of his influence on that game and Olympics .
Johnson already has proven he has magic touch at Olympics
Because Mike Eruzione scored the game-winning goal against the Soviets, that American team has always been cast as a rag-tag bunch of college players that was able to slay the bear when the bear seemed invincible. But the truth is history showed that the Americans were a very talented team, and Johnson, then 22, was the American's leading scorer against the Soviets and in the tournament.
If that wasn't enough, he also won an NCAA championship in 1977 at the University of Wisconsin, and that team was coached by his father, Bob Johnson . In 1991 he led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup Championship.
"If there is any competition for who the first family in hockey is in the United States the last name is either Johnson or Granato," Ogrean said. "And they both have a big Badger connection."
Following in his father's coaching skates, Johnson has coached the University of Wisconsin's women's team since 2002. He led the Badgers to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007.
Hopefully Johnson can continue his winning ways in the 2010 Olympics, just 378 days away.
Shameless admission and plug:
My love of hockey starts with the Miracle on Ice. Listening and watching the clip linked above gave my cold chills and brought a tear to my eye.
Anyway, in my opinion all U.S. hockey fans should watch the documentary, Do You Believe in Miracles? and the movie, Miracle . Fans should also read the book, The Boys of Winter .
"It's a great day for hockey." - Bob Johnson.