Greg Johnson passes away
by Martin Merk|11 JUL 2019
Former Canadian national team forward Greg Johnson was an “original Predator”, having joined Nashville as expansion team and later becoming the team’s captain.
photo: Dave Sandford / Hockey Hall of Fame
Former Canadian centre Greg Johnson passed away on Monday near Detroit. He was only 48.

The native of Thunder Bay, Ontario played his junior hockey in Canada before moving to the United States where he graduated at the University of North Dakota and became the team’s all-time scoring leader. Before launching his NHL career he played the 1993 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship as well as the 1991 World Juniors and joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1993/94. He split the season between the NHL, AHL and also represented Canada at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games. He played four seasons in Detroit before moving to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Johnson was best remembered in Nashville. The Predators got Johnson in the expansion draft in 1998. He would end up playing seven years for the Preds and was captain between 2001 and 2006 before retiring. He had signed a one-year contract to return to Detroit when physical examination in the pre-season unveiled an irregular heartbeat.
“Greg was a big part of establishing the identity of the franchise,” former Predators goalie Chris Mason told USA Today. “It was the worst phone call I’ve received in a while. He left an impression on me. He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He was the kind of guy that Predators (officials) wanted their other players to be like on or off the ice.”

He played 785 NHL games (145 goals, 369 points) and appeared in 37 playoff games (7 goals, 13 points). With Canada he won World Juniors gold in 1991 and took home an Olympic silver medal in 1994.

Johnson is survived by his wife Kristin and two daughters, Carson and Piper. His younger brother Ryan also had a long NHL career before retiring in 2011.
Greg Johnson won the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship with Canada.
photo: Paul Bereswill / Hockey Hall of Fame