The Okanagan Hockey Academy is pleased to congratulate alumnus Tanner Johnson on earning a scholarship to the University of Alaska-Anchorage (NCAA) starting next season.
The Castlegar, BC product posted 36 points (19-17-36) in 57 games with the OHA Black Varsity team during the 2010-11 season, before netting 20 points (8-12-20) in 49 games with the OHA Prep team in 2011-12.
Johnson spent half of the 2012-13 season with the Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Hockey League (KIJHL) before signing with the Langley Rivermen of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) in December of that same season.
“He does so many things well,” said Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager, Bobby Henderson. “He is a great two-way defenseman and is great off the rush. He has a great stick, is solid positionally and is not afraid to play physical.”
In 85 games with the Rivermen over the course of 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, the 6-foot-1 defenseman registered 24 points (5-19-24) and 44 penalty-minutes, along with six points (3-3-6) in 16 games during the post-season.
In just one and a half seasons, Johnson has gone from playing Junior ‘B’ to earning an NCAA scholarship, something Henderson says doesn’t happen too often.
“It was a pretty quick process for him,” said Henderson, who spent four seasons playing in the NCAA with Nebraska-Omaha. “To be honest with you, we really expected him back for one more season but he really took another step in his development during the playoffs.
“I think he will be good (in the NCAA); when I was watching him initially up in Castlegar I thought he looked like a college player then. He is your prototypical college defenseman; he is very mobile and has good skill and has a very high compete level.”
Off the ice, Henderson raves about Johnson’s character and work ethic.
“He is a real fun-loving kid,” he said. “I get to the rink first thing in the morning and he is always there ahead of me working at the rink, doing some skate patrol or skate sharpening. He would be in the gym before practice and then again after.
“I think his family installed that hard work ethic in him and the values he has, and he has been around some good hockey environments as well. Being at OHA he was exposed to that culture and same thing in Castlegar. I think he is a product of the environments he has been in.”
The Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves are a member of the NCAA’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and play their home games at the 6,451 capacity Sullivan Arena. Calgary Flames forward Curtis Glencross and Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle are among the programs alumni.
I can confidently say the Okanagan Hockey Academy had an impact on me as a hockey player but more importantly as a person. OHA taught me to bring my best self in all aspects of life including as a student, player and community member. I learned many life skills during my time at OHA that I will take with me much longer than my playing career and that is the greatest gift the staff, coaches, billets and community gave to me. I strongly believe I am a more well-rounded individual because of my time at OHA. I hope any young hockey player with drive, determination and a passion to become a better player and person is able to have the chance to attend somewhere so amazing. For me OHA gave me the best balance of academics, athletics, family and social life. I am extremely grateful for my time at Okanagan Hockey Academy.