Jan. 30, 2009

 

Courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics

Mark Johnson has been named the head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, it was announced today by USA Hockey. Johnson, a long-time veteran of the U.S. program as both a player and coach, is currently in his seventh season as head women's ice hockey coach at the University of Wisconsin. His .802 winning percentage coming into the current season is tops among active coaches in NCAA Division I.

"Mark is a hockey icon with unmatched experience on the international stage," said Dave Ogrean, USA Hockey's executive director. "His level of success as both a player and a coach made him an excellent choice for this position. He is well-suited to help our team return to the gold-medal podium in Vancouver."

Along with the duties of head coach at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. (Feb. 13-25, 2010), Johnson will take the reigns of the U.S. Women's National Team for the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship, set for April 4-12 in Hameenlinna, Finland.

In addition, Johnson will guide Team USA during the Qwest Tour, which will feature the 2009-10 U.S. Women's National Team playing 10 games throughout the United States in preparation for the Olympic Winter Games. Kicking off on Sept. 25, the Qwest Tour will stop in nine U.S. cities and will continue into February 2010. Further, Johnson and the U.S. squad will take part in the National Women's Invitational Tournament, a test event for the Olympic Winter Games from Aug. 31-Sept. 6 in Vancouver, as well as the 2009 Four Nations Cup in Finland from Nov. 2-8.

"We're extremely happy to have Mark lead our team throughout the next year," said Michele Amidon, USA Hockey's director of women's hockey. "Through coaching within our U.S. women's national program for the past three years and guiding Wisconsin to record-breaking success, Mark has shown a great ability to connect with the players and lead teams to victory."

Beyond leading Wisconsin to a 22-1-3 record thus far in 2008-09, including a 20-game unbeaten streak to start the season, Johnson has taken the Badger program to national prominence in his first six years at the helm. Under his guidance, the Badgers have advanced to the NCAA championship game in each of the past three seasons and captured the title in both 2006 and 2007. Since the 2005–06 campaign, Wisconsin has currently recorded 123 wins, more than any other team in the nation.

The 2006 and 2007 Western Collegiate Hockey Association and American Hockey Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year, Johnson led the Badgers to back-to-back WCHA regular-season, playoff and NCAA championships, while winning more games (72) in a two-year period (2005-07) than any other team in women’s college hockey history. During the 2006-07 campaign, Johnson’s team broke or tied 18 NCAA team and individual records, including wins in a season (36), fewest losses (one), best winning percentage (.927) and most shutouts (18). Johnson leads all active women’s college hockey coaches with an. 802 winning percentage after compiling a record of 176-37-17 in his first six years at Wisconsin.

"We are all thrilled for Mark," said Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez. "He has enjoyed success at every level of his hockey career as a coach and a player. He has done a tremendous job as head coach of our women's hockey program and I know he is looking forward to returning to the Olympic Games to represent the United States. He is most deserving of this opportunity."

Johnson’s USA Hockey experience includes time both behind the bench and on the ice. He has twice served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men's National Team in the IIHF Men's World Championship (2000, 2002) and also was an assistant coach at the 2001 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp.
Johnson has been involved as a head coach in the U.S. women's national program the past three seasons. In 2006-07, he guided Team USA to a second-place finish at the 2006 Four Nations Cup, as well as the silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Women's Championship. Johnson was the head coach of the U.S. Women's Under-22 Select Team in 2007-08 and, in 2008-09, he guided the U.S. National Under-18 Team to the gold medal at the 2009 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship in Germany.

Meanwhile, Johnson has represented the United States as a player in 13 international tournaments, including eight world championships. Most notably, he led the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team to the gold medal, tallying a team-leading 11 points, including two goals in the “Miracle On Ice” game against the Soviet Union. Additionally, Johnson enjoyed an 11-year National Hockey League career, during which time he racked up 508 points in 669 games.