UMD Recruit Johnson Skates with Minnesota Wild

By KBJR News 1

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 6:20 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The UMD Bulldogs were well-represented at last week's Minnesota Wild development camp - four players and one coach with UMD connections, including recruit Derik Johnson.

"Ever since I was little I was walking around in Bulldog apparel," Johnson said, "so it was definitely the number one school on my list since I was about 10 years old."

That dream will come true next winter for the defenseman, when he will join the national champion UMD Bulldogs, a program in which his family name is well-known.

"Derik's dad was my roommate at Duluth when I played up there," former UMD goaltender Bob Mason said. "Jimmy Johnson was my roommate for a couple years. It's good to see those guys coming down, and they're getting some rewards."

Those rewards came in the form of hockey knowledge for Johnson and other players who skated last week at the Minnesota Wild development camp.

"There's some great guys around here, Mike Yeo and Darryl Sydor," Johnson said. "They give you some pointers you wouldn't get elsewhere, so I want to take those with me when I come up to Duluth."

Johnson's hope is to crack the Bulldogs lineup as a freshman defenseman, but he said he already knows what kind of player he wants to be.

"My hope it to be a player that's really tough to play against," Johnson said, "play good solid defensive hockey, help out on the penalty kill, block shots, and be a really good teammate."

Do that in college, and it may Johnson's ticket to the pros. He said even skating with the Wild this past week was a privilege.

"Getting used to the speed and the tempo is an adjustment, but it's a really fun experience," Johnson said. "Anytime you get to lace the skates up in an NHL arena and play against guys who will be in the NHL soon, it's always a really exciting experience."

Posted by Zach Schneider