Over five key contributors on the Lakeville North boys’ hockey state championship team won’t be back in 2015-2016, but senior Max Johnson isn’t one of them.
Johnson will play for the Panthers this season despite the opportunity to play for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League after they drafted him last summer. Colleges told Johnson they wanted him to stay at Lakeville North for his senior season, which had an impact on him returning.
Although colleges pushed him to stay, he would likely have made that decision anyway after seeing the benefits Nick and Jack Poehling and Jack McNeely received by not leaving early.
“(They) impacted me because they taught me you don’t need to rush things to succeed,” Johnson said. “They wanted to be with their buddies senior year and that’s what I want to do.”
Getting elected captain for the reigning state champion Lakeville North team also provided a compelling reason for Johnson to stay.
Johnson will likely join juniors Ryan Poehling and Henry Enebak on the top line in 2015-2016 after scoring 19 goals while registering 31 assists in 2014-2015 for the Panthers. Both his goal and assist totals placed him in the top five on the state champion Lakeville North boys’ hockey team.