Like many who aspire to play junior hockey, the goal is to play at the next level. For Flyers alumni Joey Johnson, that meant suiting up in the NCAA.
Johnson came to Leamington from Midland Dow High School. As a member of the Flyers during the 2019-20 season, Johnson suited up in 49 games for the Flyers, registering 22 points (1-21).
“The GOJHL was a great league for me to develop, especially coming out of high school hockey,” said Johnson. “It’s faster and more physical than what I played prior. Leamington is a top tier program within the league and is run very professionally.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson returned to Michigan for his last year of junior eligibility and recently, he took that next step, committing to Wilkes University (NCAA-DIII) for the 2021-2022 season.
The Midland, Michigan native said he is excited to hit the ice and further his education and hockey career. He adds while Wilkes is a newer program, only getting started four years ago, he hopes to add to the great success they have had so far.
For Flyers General Manager Justin Solcz, winning is only part of the goal; as important as developing young hockey players and young men.
“Joey is a tremendous young man. He was a steady and reliable defenseman from the day he came to us,” said Solcz. “When he came in he had the goal of playing at the next level and we tried to do everything in our power to help him succeed. Joey was a great part of our success and seeing him succeed at reaching his goal is great and we know he will contribute at the next level.”
While he may not have gotten the send off that he may have liked it would have received prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson looks back on his time in Leamington fondly. He does, however, wish the team would have been able to see the season through.
“The facilities in Leamington are second to none— it’s a great rink to play in and it was always nice to play in front of hundreds of fans,” recalls Johnson.