(Denver) Jack Johnson’s story is like the LMDS classic: a good novel, a good story *.
Posted at 6:00
Financially cheated by parents eight years ago, present at Colorado Avalanche camp simply by invitation, finally got a contract for the season, played his 1000And playing during that season, he reached the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career and is now playing in the final.
This course earned him the Avalanche nomination for this season’s Bill-Masterton Trophy.
He added a layer to this story on Saturday, when the veteran defender simply revealed in a press conference that he just graduated from the University of Michigan. At 35 years old. But above all, 15 years after leaving Iggy Pop’s alma mater.
“It took me how long, 18 years? Most people are doctors after so many years of study! joked the burly defender. The seasons in which my team did not participate in the playoffs, I signed up for the spring session, at a distance. I also took advantage of the pandemic to take online courses that were normally offered on campus. ”
These are general studies (general studies) that Johnson graduated from college. For him it was a matter of pride. He arrived at college in 2005 at the age of 18 before dropping out of school in 2007 to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
“I dreamed of playing hockey at the University of Michigan and wanted to graduate from this school. It is the highest-rated public university in the country. When I dropped out of school, I promised Red Berenson [l’entraîneur-chef à l’époque] that I was about to finish my studies and I called him as soon as I finished it. ”
Against the tide
This good old Berenson, who played for the Canadiens in the 1960s, is now officially retired, although he remains active in hockey as a consultant for the Wolverines, but also for the Big Ten conference.
“In 2007, when we were eliminated, Jack left for Los Angeles, recalls the 82-year-old on the phone. He said to me: “I think it’s time to go.” I understood perfectly well, I was neither disappointed nor angry. But he called me back 15 years later to tell me he had kept his promise. ”
He knew it was important to me, but also to him.
Red Berenson, Jack Johnson’s coach at the University of Michigan
What strikes Berenson above all is the independence of spirit of the 18-year-old young man of the time. Is that Johnson was the 3And overall choice in 2005, two degrees behind Sidney Crosby, two degrees ahead of Carey Price.
“He was a very important prospect in the draft and several teams told him not to go to school,” recalls Berenson. He could have been drafted at 2And degree from the Ducks, but Brian Burke asked him to come directly to Anaheim. So they got Bobby Ryan. From the start, he had to go against the grain and make choices that weren’t always popular with elite players.
“It allowed him to mature, to develop and he became a popular teammate. When he played his he 1000And game this season, many of his teammates went to Denver to watch the game. He made friends all his life there. ”
“I’ve finally spent the best years of my life there,” Johnson confirmed on Saturday.
For Berenson it is simply a beautiful story of tenacity, for a player who has had his share of difficulty off the ice, due to the conflict with his parents.
“He was fascinated by the school. I knew him from birth. He was a friend from college, his parents lived in the area. As soon as he turned pro, he started taking summer courses. He won’t tell you he’s a student who might have gone to an Ivy League college, but he had the will to do it. Despite COVID-19, despite his family situation, he persevered. ”
* It’s a joke. Before submitting a complaint to the FPJQ, be aware that the author of these lines is aware that it is a work of Michel Fugain and the Big Bazar.