'Positive' Lake Elmo hockey coach receives award

Jay Johnson was awarded the “Double-Goal Coach” Award through the Positive Coaching Alliance for teaching valuable lessons on and off the rink. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Jay Johnson serves as the assistant coach for his daughter Sydney’s U10 hockey team, the Rivertown TimberJills. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Jay Johnson teaches important lessons on and off the ice

Stillwater Area Hockey Association coach and Lake Elmo resident Jay Johnson, 42, is one of only 20 coaches in the nation to receive the Positive Coaching Alliance’s “Double-Goal Coach” Award.

In fact, he the sole representative of Minnesota and its signature sport -- hockey -- on the list of recipients.

The Double-Goal Coach Award is presented to coaches who “strive to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports,” according to the Positive Coaching Alliance, based in California.

Johnson, a manager at Boston Scientific, juggles work and a hectic hockey coaching schedule, all while promoting valuable lessons to his young players.

A father of three hockey players, Johnson serves as an assistant coach with the Stillwater Area Hockey Association for his daughter Sydney’s Uner-10 team and his son Zach’s squirt team, as well as the head coach for his 13-year-old son Sam’s peewee team.

“The most important thing for me as a coach is creating a positive experience for youth players,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been playing hockey since kindergarten, and knows there are many life lessons to be learned through sports that can be applied outside the rink.

“Some of the most important lessons are collaboration and teamwork, as well as the excitement of the game.

“You can teach the kids the value of hard work and they will be rewarded for that in the future.”

Respect is another key value Johnson teaches his players.

“I try to emphasize respect in the game. Whether it is respect for referees, peers, coaches or the other team-that can be put into ‘real life’ in your community, those around you and the places you play and work.”

A player’s parent nominated Johnson for the award, which includes a $250 prize, a trophy and mentions in the Positive Coaching Alliance’s newsletter and website.

“Jay helps youth athletes win on and off the ice,” said Jim Thompson, founder and CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance. “By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience, and serving as a Double-Goal Coach, Jay helps youth develop into better athletes and better people.”

Additionally, and much to Johnson’s delight, the Minnesota Wild invited him to make the “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration to kick off the April 13 home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It was really cool,” Johnson said. “That was a lot of fun.”

For more information about the Positive Coaching Alliance, visit www.positivecoach.org.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.

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