The Pittsburgh Penguins appointed former University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds coach Mike Johnston of Dartmouth, NS, as the National Hockey League team's head coach on Wednesday.
Johnston coached UNB for five seasons from 1989-1994 leading his teams to a 75-43-7 conference record and a 12-11 playoff record before departing for his first NHL stint where he spent six season as assistant and associate coach with the Vancouver Cannucks (99-06).
Johnston also spent two years with the Los Angeles Kings (06-08), and more recently six years as head coach of the WHL Portland Winterhawks (09-14).
In addition to Johnston, UNB has had four previous coaches move into the NHL coaching ranks.
Former UNB player (1970-1973) Don MacAdam stepped into the UNB head coach position in 1977 (77-85) after playing for several years in Europe. He led the team to their first AUS (AUAA) championship in twenty years (1983-1984) before leaving in1985 to join the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. MacAdam served three years as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.
Doug MacLean stepped into MacAdam's UNB spot and spent just one year (85-86) at the helm at UNB leading the team to a 9-15-0 record when he got the call to join the St. Louis Blues (87-88) as an assistant coach. He also had assistant position with both the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings (90-92). MacLean landed a head coach position with the Florida Panthers for three seasons (95-98) and then spent two years as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets (02-04).
Gary Agnew, a standout player for the UNB hockey team for four years (78-82) assistant coach to both MacAdam and MacLean at UNB got his start coaching the London Knights for several years before realizing the NHL dream in 2006 (06-10) with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach. For the last two seasons Agnew has been with the St. Louis Blues (12-14) and is still hoping for that head coach position.
UNB's other former player and coach, Mike Kelly, also has NHL experience serving as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks for two seasons (06-08). Kelly played for UNB 1981-1986 and returned as head coach in 1997. He led the UNB Varsity Reds to their first CIS title in 1998 after winning a silver medal in 1997. Mike has also worked in the OHL, WHL and AHL.
The UNB Varsity Reds wish all their former coaches continued success in their pursuit of excellence.
UNB Varsity Reds Communications Manager