University of Minnesota womens hockey head coach Brad Frost has announced the hiring of Joel Johnson as an assistant coach. Johnson, who was the head coach of the Bethel University mens hockey team, returns to the Gopher staff where he was an assistant coach during the Golden Gophers 2000 and 2004 national championship runs. He replaces Jamie Wood, who accepted an associate head coaching position at the University of New Hampshire. Johnson begins his duties immediately.
I am very excited to have Joel coming back to the Golden Gopher family, Frost said. Joel brings a wealth of experience as he has been both an assistant and head coach. He cares about the right things and will make an immediate in our program.
Johnson spent six seasons at Bethel, including the past three as the mens hockey head coach. In his first year as the head coach, Johnson guided the Royals to a 16-7-2 overall record and an 11-4-1 mark in the MIAC. At the helm of Royal hockey, he posted a career record of 37-35-3 and 26-21-1 within conference play. As an assistant coach, Johnson helped the team to its first-ever MIAC regular season championship in 2006-07. The Royals followed with their first-ever playoff title and advanced to the NCAA national tournament in 2007. Since Johnson has been associated with Bethel, the team has been a playoff contender each year. Along with his mens hockey responsibilities, he was also the mens and womens golf coach. A 1996 Bethel alum, Johnson was a three-sport captain for the Royals in soccer, hockey and baseball.
Prior to his time at Bethel, Johnson was an assistant women’s coach at Minnesota for five years as he aided the Gophers to two national championships in 2000 and 2004. During his first time with Minnesota, Johnson primarily worked with the Gopher defensemen. Coaching some of the nation’s best blue liners, Courtney Kennedy and Ronda Curtin were top-three Patty Kazmaier finalists and first-team All-Americans. Both Kennedy, Curtin and Winny Brodt were all named the WCHA Defensive Players of the Year during his tenure.
“I’m extremely excited to be coaching again at the University of Minnesota, Johnson said. The program has a tradition of excellence and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great staff and group of student athletes. The commitment towards excellence that Minnesota makes in athletics and academics is second to none. I’m looking forward to helping the women’s hockey program excel on and off the ice as we strive for a national championship.”