Johnson Jolted From the Playoffs Again by COVID-19
Kent Johnson has had championship aspirations dashed by COVID-19 for a second straight season.
The leading scorer last season with the Trail Smoke Eaters who ran away with the BCHL scoring championship with 101 points, saw the 2020 post season cancelled while preparing for the second round against Salmon Arm.
The slick high-scoring forward and his Michigan team mates were getting ready for a possible Frozen-Four berth when they were kicked out of the NCA playoffs following positive COVID-19 test results within the team.
The 18-year-old from Port Moody said being eliminated for the second straight post-season because of off-ice circumstances beyond his control was difficult to accept at first.
“It definitely stings, but there is not much you can do about it I guess, you know it’s really sad at the time and I know I just try to look forward after and look forward for next season,” said Johnson who will be a part of an NHL organization when the 2021-22 season at Michigan begins.
The NCAA freshman had 9 goals and 27 points while being plus-16 in 26 games, feeling adapting his game to Division-1 competition was the key.
“It’s obviously a different level from the way I played in the BCHL, I knew it wasn’t going to be that way exactly, so I had to adapt my game a bit, move some pucks quicker and work more give-and-go’s with my team mates and, yeah, it was a good transition,” said Johnson who expects to hear from more NHL scouts as draft day approaches this summer.
The BCHL MVP from 2019-20 is considered a first round draft prospect who can’t wait to start playing in front of fans again, feeling the atmosphere at the University of Michigan will be similar to Cominco Arena in Trail.
“I definitely miss playing at Cominco, it was some of the most fun hockey I ever played,” said Johnson.
“The fans here (at Michgan) are great too, I just miss playing in front of you guys (Trail fans)”, said the Smokies sniper who won the BCHL scoring title by 30 points and was also named the BCHL’s most sportsmanlike player before graduating to the NCAA.