Tyler Johnson Inspires Local Youth Hockey - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Tyler Johnson Inspires Local Youth Hockey

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Local youth hockey players find dedication to their own game through inspiration from Spokane native Tyler Johnson. Local youth hockey players find dedication to their own game through inspiration from Spokane native Tyler Johnson.

by Gabe Cohen

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Tyler Johnson is now a household name for sports fans around the country. In his second full season in the NHL, he's helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals.

"But the most amazing thing is he's never forgotten where he came from," Cam Severson said. Severson coaches the Eagles youth hockey team in Spokane, a team Tyler Johnson played for. "I've known Tyler for years. I don't think you could find a better overall character."

Severson says Johnson has always given time and resources to youth hockey in Spokane, and today the sport is bigger than it's ever been in the Inland Northwest. He says part of that is owed to the inspiration so many aspiring hockey stars have drawn from the 24-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning center.

"I'm just really astonished by him," 12-year-old Connor Howell said.

Howell skated with Johnson last summer at Hockey Fest in Coeur d'Alene--a dream come true. Now he's excited to watch Johnson try to bring home the Stanley Cup, though when the puck dropped in game 1 Wednesday evening, Howell wasn't in front of a television. Instead, he was on the ice training for what he hopes will be an NHL career one day.

"I think [Johnson] brings that hope to kids out here that they can make it to the NHL," he said. "Anyone can go that far. Even a kid from Spokane."

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