Tyler Johnson is one of Spokane's hometown heroes – even at the ripe old age of 21.
Now playing in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals, the former Spokane Chief said it hasn't settled in yet that he has already won more championships than most of his teammates and fellow hockey players.
"I don't know if it has quite set in right now – just how fortunate I've really been," said Johnson. "Just listening to guys who play their whole careers without winning a championship… There are guys on our team that have played 10-plus years in the AHL and never made it to the finals. And me, being able to do that my first season is something that I can't quite explain. It's something that's definitely special."
Why does he wear No. 25 in the AHL?
Since he was a kid he always wore No. 9. That was his mother's number and that's what he kept – even through his junior career in the WHL. But when he got to Norfolk No. 9 was taken, so he eventually landed No. 25, the number of his friend and former Chief, Levko Koper.
What about East Coast life?
"Awesome", said Johnson. He loved the warm weather and friendly people. During his first few weeks it was an adjustment, given that the crowds at the games were pretty small. But as the season progressed and they got into the playoffs he could see a swelling support for hockey in Norfolk.
What about the future?
Johnson is a project for the Tampa Bay Lightning, so his ultimate goal is to play in Florida in the NHL.
"For me, to do that, I just have to keep progressing, keep working hard," said Johnson. "This summer is going to be a big one for me. There are some spots in Tampa and hopefully I get a chance for that, but I just have to get bigger and stronger and faster."