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Defenseman Casey Johnson Joins Steelheads for 2021-22 Season

Monday, August 23rd
Defenseman Casey Johnson Joins Steelheads for 2021-22 Season

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads have signed defenseman Casey Johnson to an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Monday.“I was talking with the coaches, and they were telling me I have a good opportunity to play,” said Johnson. “I was looking at the prior records, and the Steelheads have a good reputation of always being a better team. I’m just excited to be in Boise; I’ve heard it’s really nice out there.”Johnson, 25, made his professional debut with the Macon Mayhem of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), tallying three goals and 10 assists for 13 points with a plus-20 rating through 33 games in his first season. He finished third among defensemen in points and was named to both the SPHL All-Rookie Team and SPHL Second All-Star Team. The Grand Forks, N.D. native made his ECHL debut with the South Carolina Stingrays on Feb. 27, 2020 and played six games through mid-March of the 2019-20 season.Johnson is the descendant of another professional hockey player: his father, Dennis Johnson, who played professionally for three seasons in the mid-1970s after being drafted in the 5th round of the 1972 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) and with the Kalamazoo Wings in the former International Hockey League (IHL). Though he wore skates before shoes, Casey’s development has been on his own through his junior and collegiate career, and his first season of professional play set the expectations for making the jump between levels and furthering that process.“It’s more of a skill game when you get up to the pro level. It’s about making that right decision and buying yourself time. There’s definitely a learning curve, but I felt that college prepared me to help with that right away. Last year was different with the COVID regulations, but learning from the veterans and seeing how they took care of life and prepared for hockey was my biggest takeaway. Being able to play during a rough time was such a privilege.“I just want to be at my best and be as consistent as possible. If I can play constantly and play at that level every game, then that will help me with playing time and helping out the team as much as possible.”“Casey had a strong showing last year with Macon in his first year pro,” said Sheen on Johnson. “He showed that he can be an impact defenseman at this level. He also comes from a prestigious NCAA program in North Dakota. We are looking forward for him to step right into our defensive core and make an impact.”Prior to his professional career, Johnson played four seasons at the University of North Dakota from 2016-17 through 2019-20, tallying four goals and nine assists for 13 points through 106 games with just 25 penalty minutes. He was a member of the 2019-20 squad that won the NCHC Regular Season Championship in 2019-20 and was ranked third in the country prior to the shutdown of the NCAA Tournament due to the pandemic. He also was in the 2016 USHL Clark Cup Finals with the Dubuque Fighting Saints and was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Second Team in 2014-15 with the Minot Minotauros.“I can’t wait to play in a full stadium again. I’ve heard the fans are very loyal and love the Steelheads. The more fans, the better. I can’t wait.”Johnson is the sixth Steelheads player and second defenseman announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining defenseman Evan Wardley,forwards Zack Andrusiak, Will Merchant and A.J. White, and goaltender Jake Kupsky. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer, and you can follow who’s been added on the team’s Summer Signing Tracker.The Steelheads are back for the 2021-22 season! Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22 against the Utah Grizzlies at Idaho Central Arena. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Stay connected to the Steelheads all summer long on IdahoSteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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