TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have assigned Assistant Coach Jim Johnson to the position of Head Coach of the Admirals today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.
The move comes as the Admirals are one of four teams battling for three spots in the push for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Norfolk trails Wilkes Barre-Scranton by three points and are two points behind Bridgeport as well as Lowell though they have a game in hand on each team. The Admirals are currently in Binghamton for a 7:05 p.m. game tonight.
“I am extremely excited to get back behind the bench tonight for the Admirals,” said Johnson today. “We have a great group of players in Norfolk and I am excited to get there with them as we push towards making the playoffs.”
Leigh Mendelson, who served as head coach after Johnson joined the Lightning, will return to assistant coach while Ben Eaves returns to the position of strength and conditioning/video coach.
A native of New Hope, Minnesota, Johnson was named assistant coach of the Lightning on February 24, 2010. He served in that role for 17 games. Johnson was previously named head coach of the Admirals on January 16, 2010, after beginning the season as the team’s associate coach. Once taking the reins of the Admirals, Johnson gave the team a newfound fire and direction, leading them to a 13-2-2 record during his 17 games behind the bench. The Admirals improved from 17-23-2 and seventh in the AHL’s East Division to 30-25-4 and third place in the East Division, firmly entrenched in the playoff race, with Johnson serving as Head Coach.
Johnson had a lengthy NHL career as a defenseman, playing 829 games with 29 goals and 166 assists with stops in Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Dallas, Washington and Phoenix. He also represented the United States in international competition on seven occasions including the 1991 Canada Cup.
Following his retirement, Johnson spent four years with the Phoenix Coyotes as a consultant to the general manager, broadcast analyst and an assistant coach. He has also served as a U.S. National Junior Team Assistant Coach at the IIHF World Junior Championships on three occasions. Johnson has been involved with USA Hockey development programs at the state, regional and national levels as a coach, evaluator and presenter. He was named 2006 USA Hockey Volunteer Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year.
The Admirals will play their final two road games of the 2009-10 regular season tonight and tomorrow as they visit Binghamton tonight at 7:05 and Hershey tomorrow at 6:00. Both games will air on STAR 1310-AM, star1310.com and ahllive.com.
The Admirals will conclude their 2009-10 regular season next week with a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
That game will be will be another Family Fun Pack Night and Student Rush Night. Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets for just $48 plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $48 – that’s a savings of $37!
Student Rush Nights, brought to you by Pit Bull Energy Drink and Baxter’s Sports Lounge, provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for high school and college students with a valid current high school or college ID. In addition, when you buy a Student Rush Night Ticket, you get a buy-one, get-one free offer for the next Student Rush Night. On top of that, you get discounted food at Baxter’s Sports Lounge (located right across the street from Scope) on the day of the game.
Admirals Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.
For complete details of all promotions, ticket offers and giveaways, please visit norfolkadmirals.com or call (757) 640-1212.
To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visit Ticketmaster online at ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2010-11 season tickets today. Affordable monthly payment plans are available for a limited time only! Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!