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Rarefied air: Spokane’s Tyler Johnson joins Spokane elites at pinnacle of sports

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 29, 2020

Spokane native Tyler Johnson has the reputation as a winner – and rightfully so.

He can now add “Stanley Cup champion” to his lengthy list of achievements.

Johnson played a pivotal role for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they defeated the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup finals, winning Game 6 2-0 on Monday in the NHL’s “bubble site” in Edmonton, Alberta.

Johnson, 30, along with his coaches and teammates, will have his named engraved upon the Cup, etching his name into hockey immortality.

He scored 14 goals with 17 assists in 65 games this season for the Lightning, and had four goals and three helpers in 25 games during the championship run.

An eight-year veteran of the NHL, Johnson joins an exclusive club of players to have won a major junior championship (WHL; 2008), Memorial Cup (2008), World Junior Championship (USA; 2010), Calder Cup (AHL; 2012) and Stanley Cup.

The Central Valley High School grad becomes the latest member of Spokane high school sports royalty to have achieved greatness in their profession (in alphabetical order).

Jason Hanson (Mead/Washington State)

He was a three-time All-American at Washington State, where his 62-yarder in 1991 remains the longest in school history, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020. The 19-year NFL veteran ranks seventh in NFL history with 1,890 points, and holds the record for most 50-yard field goals with 45. A two-time pro bowler, Hanson played his entire career with the Detroit Lions and holds the NFL record with most games with the same team at 327.

Briann January (Lewis and Clark)

At LC, January earned first-team all-state basketball honors by both the Associated Press and the Seattle Times and led the Tigers to the state semifinals as a junior. She won the State 4A high jump title in 2004. January led Arizona State in steals and assists four straight years and is a six-time selection to the WNBA All-Defensive Team. She won an NBA title with the Indiana Fever in 2012 and has played in four WNBA finals.

Carl Johnson (Lewis and Clark)

Johnson was born in Michigan but moved to Spokane at a young age and attended LC, where he once long-jumped 23 feet, 4½ inches, a record that has stood at the school for more than 100 years. After high school, Johnson attended the University of Michigan where he was a star, winning 16 Big Ten Conference individual track titles. He won a silver medal in the long jump at the 1920 Olympics, jumping 1 inch shy of his high school record.

Gerry Lindgren (Rogers, Washington State)

Lindgren set eight national high school track records and won 11 NCAA track and cross country championships. In 1964, Lindgren became the first American to beat Russian runners in the 10,000 meters. Favored for gold in the Tokyo Olympics that year, an ankle injury limited him to a ninth-place finish. He is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In 1965, he broke the world record for the 6-mile run at the AAU National Championships.

Adam Morrison (Mead, Gonzaga)

Led Mead to a state runner-up finish his senior season, scoring 37 points in the title game. The co-national player of the year at Gonzaga in 2006 was also a finalist for the Naismith and the Wooden Awards. He was the third pick in the NBA draft by the Charlotte Bobcats and went on to win two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers – though he didn’t play a minute in either finals.

Mark Rypien (Shadle Park, Washington State)

An all-state football, basketball and baseball player at Shadle, Rypien is regarded as one of the greatest all-around athletes in Washington high school history. He passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 37-24 win over Buffalo in the 1992 Super Bowl, earning him MVP honors, and was named to the 1991 All-Pro second team, totaling 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Ryne Sandberg (North Central)

A three-sport star at NC, Sandberg was a Parade All-American quarterback and opted out of a letter of intent at WSU after being drafted in the 20th round of the 1978 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Sandberg was a 10-time all-star, won nine Gold Gloves, set the career fielding percentage record for second base and played a record 123 consecutive games without an error. He hit .285 with 282 home runs and 344 stolen bases in 16 seasons. Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

John Stockton (Gonzaga Prep, Gonzaga)

Though he never won an NBA championship with the Utah Jazz, losing to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the 1997 and ’98 finals, Stockton is the NBA career leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). A 10-time all-star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Stockton led the NBA in assists a record nine times. He averaged 13.1 points during a 19-year career and was voted one of the 50 best NBA players of all time. He was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Tom Sneva (Lewis and Clark, Eastern Washington)

Sneva won the Indianapolis 500 in 1983 after three runner-up performances. He won the IndyCar season championship twice and became the first driver to top 200 mph in Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Sneva was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Others

Angie Bjorklund (University): All-state guard named Gatorade State Player of the Year and WBCA All-American. Earned gold at 2007 FIBA U-19 world championship in Slovakia. Holds career records at Tennessee for most 3-point attempts in a season (239) and most 3-pointers made in a career (305). Bjorklund was part of the school’s last NCAA Division I title, though injuries derailed her WNBA career.

Gail Cogdill (LC High/WSU): The 1960 NFL Rookie of the Year played in three Pro Bowls and caught 34 touchdown passes in 11 pro seasons. His 252 receiving yards against Northwestern in 1958 stood as an NCAA Division I record for 33 years.

Annette Hand (Central Valley/Oregon): Set the American women’s record in the 5,000-meter run in 1993. She won the NCAA 5,000 title in 1988 and later won U.S. national championships in the 1,500 and 3,000 (twice).

Ray Flaherty (Gonzaga High, Gonzaga): Two-time all-pro with the New York Giants. He won two NFL titles as a player and two more as a coach, which earned him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mary Lou Petty (LC): Finished fourth in the 400-meter freestyle at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

The LC grad set a world record for the 300-yard freestyle and held six American swimming records (mostly in relays).

Brad Walker (University/Washington): Competed in football, basketball and track and field for U-Hi. Walker was a four-time NCAA All-American and set the U.S. pole vault record of 19 feet, 9¾ inches in 2008. Walker won the world indoor title in 2006 and the outdoor title in 2007.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Walker reached the final but finished 12th.

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