Most Active Stories
Sat June 23, 2012
Calumet native Ben Johnson selected in NHL Draft
Former Calumet Copper Kings hockey star Ben Johnson was selected in the 3rd round, 90th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, which concluded today in Pittsburgh.
"This is a dream come true for me," Johnson told The Star-Ledger after being drafted. "This is a great organization for me to go to. They made a really nice run this year in the playoffs. I got a chance to watch them a lot."
The six-foot, 185 pound forward made the leap from high school hockey to the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League this past season. He struggled early on, being held without a goal in his first 23 games. But once he found his stride, he finished the season with 18 goals and 22 assists in 72 games.
Johnson tells The Windsor Star:
"For sure, coming here was probably the best decision of my life, so far," the 18-year-old Johnson said. "I love the organization and the opportunity they gave me.
"I think I've learned a lot about the game and system work. I had no idea about that stuff until I got here."
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards added, "I love his competitiveness. He competes and he's not afraid of anything. He's not afraid to get in a battle and take a hit." Central Scouting had Johnson ranked 52nd among North American skaters in their Final Rankings.
Johnson isn't the first family member to be drafted by New Jersey. His cousin, Michigan Tech sophomore forward Blake Pietila, was selected by the Devils in the 5th round, 129th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and Johnson told the media after being drafted it would be "awesome" if the two are teammates someday in the organization.
Johnson was a co-winner of Michigan's Mr. Hockey award in 2011 as the state's top player, as well as the Hobey Baker High School Character Award for exemplary sportsmanship and character. That year he led the Copper Kings to a runner-up finish at state championship. He is only the second high school junior to win the Mr. Hockey award. The other was Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.