jack johnson | The beautiful story of the series

(Denver) The story of Jack Johnson is like the LMDS classic: a beautiful novel, a beautiful story*.

Posted at 6:00 am

Guillaume Lefrançois

Guillaume Lefrançois
The press

Cheated financially by his parents eight years ago, attending Colorado Avalanche Camp by invitation only, finally getting a contract for the season, playing his 1000the game this season, reached the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career and is now playing in the finals.

That course earned him the Avalanche’s nomination for the Bill-Masterton Trophy that season.

He added a layer to that story on Saturday when the veteran defenseman simply revealed at a press conference that he had just graduated from the University of Michigan. At 35 years old. But especially 15 years after he left Iggy Pop’s alma mater.

“What did it take, 18 years? Most people are doctors after so many years of study! joked the burly defender. During the seasons when my team wasn’t making the playoffs, I signed up for the spring session remotely. I’ve also used the pandemic to do online courses that are usually offered on campus. »

It is in the Studium Generale (General Studies), which Johnson graduated from. For him it was a matter of pride. He entered college in 2005 at the age of 18 before leaving school in 2007 to sign with the Los Angeles Kings.

“I had dreams of playing hockey at the University of Michigan and I wanted to get that degree. It is the highest-ranking public university in the country. When I left school, I promised Red Berenson [l’entraîneur-chef à l’époque] that I was going to graduate from high school and I called him as soon as I was done. »

Against a current

That good old Berenson, who played for the Canadiens in the 1960s, is now officially retired, although he remains active as a consultant for the Wolverines, but also for the Big Ten conference in hockey.

“When we got eliminated in 2007, Jack went to Los Angeles,” the 82-year-old man recalled on the phone. He said to me, “I think it’s time to go.” I understood it very well, I wasn’t disappointed or angry. But he called me back 15 years later to say he had kept his promise. »

He knew it was important to me, but also to him.

Red Berenson, coach of Jack Johnson at the University of Michigan

What particularly struck Berenson was the intellectual independence of the then 18-year-old young man. Johnson was 3rde 2005 overall pick, two places behind Sidney Crosby, two places ahead of Carey Price.

“He was a very prominent prospect in the draft, and several teams told him not to go to school,” recalls Berenson. He could have been drafted at 2e ranked by the Ducks, but Brian Burke asked him to come straight to Anaheim. So they took Bobby Ryan with them. From the start he had to swim against the tide and make decisions that weren’t always popular with elite players.

“It allowed him to mature, develop and he became a popular teammate. When he celebrated his 1000the game that season, several of his teammates went to Denver to watch the game. There he made lifelong friendships. »

“That’s where I finally spent the best years of my life,” Johnson confirmed on Saturday.

For Berenson, it’s just a beautiful story of perseverance for a player who has had some difficulties off the ice due to conflict with his parents.

“He was fascinated by the school. I’ve known him since I was born. He was a college friend, his parents lived in the area. As soon as he turned pro, he began attending summer classes. I’m not going to tell you he’s a student who could have gone to an Ivy League college, but he had the will to do it. Despite COVID-19, despite his family situation, he persevered. »

* This is a joke. Before sending a complaint to the FPJQ, you should know that the author of these lines is aware that this is a work by Michel Fugain and the Big Bazar.

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