"Badger Bob" Johnson - 2000 Legend of College Hockey
Bob Johnson was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 12, 1991 for his outstanding contributions to the sport he loved. In only one year his guidance and teaching methods molded the Pittsburgh Penguins into the 1991 Stanley Cup Champions of the National Hockey League.
Johnson was a career coach for over 30 years at all levels of hockey. After US military service at bases in Tokyo and Korea, Johnson took his first coaching job at Warroad High School in Minnesota. He then moved on to Roosevelt High School where he coached for six seasons taking the Teddies to the State High School Tournament.
In 1963 he moved to the college ranks coaching three years at Colorado College, then the following fifteen years at the University of Wisconsin. With the University of Wisconsin he led the Badgers to NCAA Championships in 1973 at Boston, 1977 at Detroit and 1981 in Duluth. Virtually every player who played for Johnson reached the top of the mountain in their college careers by being part of a championship team. During his success at Wisconsin, Badger Bob also coached the US National Team in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1981 and the US Olympic Team in 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria,
In 1982 Johnson moved to the National Hockey League where he coached the Calgary Flames the next five seasons. He guided the Flames to their first Campbell Conference Championship and the Stanley Cup Finals in 1986, During the years with Calgary, he coached Team USA in the 1981, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup Tournaments.
In 1997 Johnson moved on to serve as Executive Director of USA Hockey in Colorado Springs where he supervised a three-year period of unprecedented growth for amateur hockey throughout the United States.
Johnson decided to return to coaching in 1990 as he joined the Penguins organization as Head Coach, He molded a talented Penguins squad and made them believe in themselves and their abilities. For the first time in the team's 24-year history, the Penguins captured the Patrick Division title, Wales Conference Championship and Stanley Cup Championship.
Memorial services were held simultaneously Monday, December 2 at Colorado Springs, Madison, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Calgary, Alberta.
Badger Bob touched the lives of so many of us and his spirit will always be remembered, along with the words he so passionately used that defined Bob best, "It's a great day for hockey."