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Portland’s Mike Johnston Named Darcy Haugan Memorial Coach of the Year Junior Hockey News

Published: Friday, 17 May 2019  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Portland Winterhawks’ (Western Hockey League) Head Coach Mike Johnston has been named as the first Darcy Haugan Memorial North American Coach of the Year.

The annual award is presented to the 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, were selected each month during the season leading up to today’s announcement.

“Mike is a great teacher of the game, and also a well-respected individual in the coaching fraternity. He carries himself with class and expects that from his players, too,” Haugan Panelist, and Maryland Black Bears Head Coach, Clint Mylymok said of Johnston. “As much as a good coach Mike is, I think his values and off ice demeanor are things Darcy would be just as impressed by.”

“I have heard tremendous things about Mike through many colleagues,” Panelist Paul DePuydt said regarding Johnston. “Mike has had a tremendous impact on so many young men that he has coached throughout the years!”

“I am very humbled by the people and organizations that have supported us and continue to be there for us since April 6,2018,” Darcy’s wife Christina Haugan earlier this week. 

“Darcy touched so many lives in his time through the game of hockey and I know without a doubt that continues to be one of the best ways to honour him and create something positive from a tragedy.  For others to continue his legacy and create their own by using the game of hockey to not only help boys become better athletes, but to also go beyond that and use the game of hockey to impact players, referees, parents, fans, and communities,” Christina continued.  “I don’t personally know Mike Johnston but I have heard much about him and I feel he’s been embodying qualities for many many years as his time coaching that were so important to Darcy through the game of hockey.” 

“I hope hearing about Darcy’s life serves as an encouragement to all coaches; the impact they can truly have on people and I am so thankful for our hockey family,” Christina added. 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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