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Johnson named new BHS girls hockey coach

BEMIDJI -- A former Lumberjack is taking charge of the Bemidji High School girls hockey team.

Michael Johnson has been tabbed to be the program’s new head coach, BHS activities director Troy Hendricks announced Wednesday.

“I’m pretty fired up about it,” Johnson said. “I was a head coach previously down in the Madison, Wisconsin area, and then moved back to Bemidji about three years ago. I’m ready to work with the high school kids again.”

Johnson was born and raised in Bemidji, playing three years of varsity hockey for BHS before graduating in 1984. He went on to play a year of junior hockey and a couple years at North Dakota State.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in finance from Moorhead State University in 1991, Johnson received his MBA from North Dakota State and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Johnson spent more than 20 years living in Madison, Wis., teaching at the University of Wisconsin and Madison Area Technical College, before moving back to Bemidji three years ago. He still teaches online classes for UW and MATC.

While in college, Johnson began coaching hockey in the early 1990s and has been involved in the sport ever since.

Johnson is married to fellow 1984 BHS graduate, Sheila, and has four daughters and one son.

Casey Reierson coached the Lumberjack girls program for two seasons before resigning in March to spend more time with his family.

After Bemidji ended last season with a 5-21 record, Johnson said he aims to create a winning culture that goes beyond just hockey.

“My goal is to develop a winning culture,” he said. “We’ll do some off-ice things and we’ll do a lot of team-building and talk about life skills and using sports kind of as a tool to have some real life experiences.

“The ultimate goal is to really build a family with the players. And I think if we do those kinds of things, maybe looking beyond hockey a little bit, we’ll have a lot of success and maybe start rebuilding a winning tradition for Bemidji girls hockey.”

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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