The career leading scorer for the University of North Dakota hockey program who went on to a long NHL career has died at age 48.
Center Greg Johnson died Monday in the Detroit area, where he lived.
“The UND hockey family is saddened to learn of Greg Johnson’s passing,” UND Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry said in a statement released Tuesday. “Our heartfelt sympathies and thoughts are with Greg’s family and loved ones at this difficult time. He was a Hall of Fame athlete and more importantly, a Hall of Fame man. He will be greatly missed.”
Johnson’s hometown newspaper in his native Thunder Bay, Ontario, reported that friends of his family were calling his death unexpected. There is no further word on a cause of death.
Johnson was chosen 33rd overall in the second round of the 1989 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers before playing his first of four seasons with North Dakota from 1989 to 1993.
He still ranks as UND’s all-time leading scorer with 272 points in 155 games. Johnson also holds the school record for assists, with 198. He was the school’s male athlete of the year in 1993.
Johnson was on the 1994 Canadian Olympic team that earned a silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway.
The Flyers traded him to Detroit, and he started his NHL career with the Red Wings in 1993, then moving on to Pittsburgh and Chicago before playing his final seven seasons with Nashville.
Diagnosed with a heart condition, Johnson retired in 2006 with 145 goals, 224 assists and 369 points in 785 NHL games.