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Portland's Mike Johnston 3rd Nominee for Haugan Memorial Coach of the Year Junior Hockey News

Published: Thursday, 13 Dec 2018  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Portland Winterhawks (Western Hockey League) Head Coach Mike Johnston has been selected as the third monthly nominee for the Darcy Haugan Memorial North American Coach of the Year award.

The annual award is presented to the current junior hockey coach that displays similar characteristics that Haugan was known for.

Haugan was an unusual junior hockey coach that emphasized helping his players become better people as being more important than wins and losses. He also expected his players to give back to the community. He strongly believed that hockey is not about making players, but human beings, and was a frequent attendee at fundraisers, minor hockey clinics, and spoke with community leaders and schools about family, integrity and respect. Nominees, that display similar characteristics, are selected each month during the season leading up to the May announcement.

Johnston, the most successful coach and general manager in Portland Winterhawks history, spent 18-months as head coach of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins before returning to Portland for the 2016-17 season. The veteran coach earned the WHL’s Western Conference Coach of the Year in 2017 and continues to lead his young charges to success on and off the ice.

Aside from being a great developer of young hockey players, Johnston is also known for his tireless efforts within the coaching community. 

“Mike teams play a great style of hockey,” Wenatchee Wild (British Columbia Hockey League) Head coach Bliss Littler said of Johnston Wednesday. “Mike is always great at sharing his hockey knowledge, be it coaching clinics, or if you reach out to him.”

The winner will be selected at the end of regular season by a panel led by Darcy's wife Christina Haugan. is honored to have the opportunity to facilitate this award on behalf of Darcy's family, friends, and the game.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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