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Mario Lemieux

Related Biography: Hockey Coach Bob Johnson

The son of Swedish immigrants, Robert "Bob" Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1931 and grew into an all-around athlete. He played hockey at the University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota and was talented enough in baseball to be signed by the Chicago White Sox. Drafted during the Korean War, Johnson could not pursue his baseball career; after returning from the war, Johnson decided to go into coaching as a more reliable way to support his growing family, which eventually included five children.

Starting off as a high-school hockey coach in Minnesota, Johnson went to Colorado College in 1963. He returned to the Midwest three years later to direct the hockey program at the University of Wisconsin. He spent fifteen seasons at Wisconsin; leading the team to three NCAA championships, he earned the nickname "Badger Bob" after the team's mascot. In 1976 Johnson coached the U.S. men's hockey team at the Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games.

In 1982 Johnson joined the NHL as the coach of the Calgary Flames; the team made it to the 1986 Stanley Cup finals, where it lost to the Montreal Canadiens. He went to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 and helped lead the team to its first-ever Stanley Cup victory at the end of his first season. In the midst of the celebration, however, Johnson was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in November 1991 at the age of sixty, just as the Penguins were going on to the franchise's second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Remembered for his catchphrase, "It's a great day for hockey," Johnson was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Famous Sports StarsHockeyMario Lemieux Biography - Drafted By Pittsburgh Penguins, Two Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Diagnosed With Hodgkin's Disease