Winterhawks’ Johnson receives WHL Distinguished Service Award

Ben Ludeman


Portland, Ore. – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison announced today, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, that Portland Winterhawks Education Advisor Sue Johnson has been named a recipient of the WHL Distinguished Service Award for the 2017-18 WHL season.

Johnson was honoured by WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in Portland during a special ceremony prior to tonight’s game between the Portland Winterhawks and Kamloops Blazers.

“As the Portland Winterhawks Education Advisor, Sue Johnson has dedicated over 20 years to ensuring the Winterhawks players receive all the support they need to succeed academically,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Sue is most deserving of this prestigious WHL Award, given her longstanding service to the Winterhawks franchise and unwavering commitment to the players’ academic goals.”

Johnson has assisted Winterhawks players with their academics for more than 20 years, working as a Guidance Counselor at Milwaukie High School before joining the Winterhawks as the Club’s Education Advisor in 2010.

“Sue Johnson has had a major impact on our program overall,” said Mike Johnston, Vice President, General Manager and Head Coach for the Portland Winterhawks. “Both the high school and University programs are an integral part of what we do in Portland with the players. Not only does Sue communicate regularly with recently signed players and parents of current players, but she also ensures that each of our high school players graduate on time and that the University players finish a minimum of two courses per year. Sue Johnson is big part of why parents chose to send their sons to Portland.”

Under Johnson’s tutelage, the Winterhawks were named WHL Scholastic Team of the Year for the 2012-13 WHL season. During Johnson’s time, 100 per cent of Winterhawks players have graduated from high school, with 71 per cent doing so with honours.

The WHL Distinguished Service Award, which was introduced by the WHL in 2004, is presented annually to individuals who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of WHL franchises and in doing so have made an extraordinary contribution at the Club and League levels over an extended period. The WHL will present Distinguished Service Awards annually to an individual from both the WHL Western and Eastern Conferences.

Previous recipients of the WHL Distinguished Service Award:
Herman Elfring (Lethbridge Hurricanes – Board Member); Norbert Heinzelmann (Kelowna Rockets – Off-Ice Officials); Bill Sanderson (Victoria Royals – Off-Ice Officials); Bob McGill (Edmonton Oil Kings – Scout); Ralph Zander (Calgary Hitmen – Off-Ice Official); Terry Bonner (Vancouver Giants – Scouting Director); Dr. Mary Smith (Spokane Chiefs – Team Dentist); Dennis Coates (Kamloops Blazers – Volunteer Board Member); Judy Seher (Red Deer Rebels – Billet Coordinator); Balzer, Frank, Tony & John Lanz (Medicine Hat Tigers – Off-Ice Officials); Rose Mary Hartney (Moose Jaw Warriors – Education Advisor); Greg ‘Spike’ Wallace (Kamloops Blazers – Community & Sponsorship Coordinator); Nella Rounsville (Kootenay Ice – Education Advisor); Lorne Frey (Kelowna Rockets – Asst GM/Head Scout); Graham Tuer (Saskatchewan Hockey Association – Volunteer); Jann Boss (Portland Winterhawks – Administration); Ruth “Grams” Pollock (Prince Albert Raiders – Billet Coordinator); Dr. Ian Hill (Regina Pats – Team Doctor); Dr. Alfred Blue (Seattle Thunderbirds – Team Doctor); Doris Rubel (Kamloops Blazers – Billet Coordinator); Colleen MacBean (Swift Current Broncos – Education Advisor); and Bob Ridley (Medicine Hat Tigers – Play-By-Play Announcer).

About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.

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