Star Tribune File Photo
BIRTHPLACE: West St. Paul, Minn.
BORN: May 18, 1935
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: Rochester Mustangs, Minneapolis Millers, Des Moines Oak Leafs, Waterloo Black Hawks
Paul Johnson grew up playing hockey in West St. Paul, Minnesota. At the age of 21 he was named to the 1958 United States Men's National Team, which competed at the International Ice Federation World Championship in Oslo, Norway. Johnson was one of just six team members who did not play college hockey.
Before joining the U.S. National Team, he was a member of the Rochester Mustangs, a junior team in Rochester, Minnesota. A dynamic skater and explosive scorer, his appearance at the 1958 IIHF World Championship marked Johnson's first experience with the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (today known as USA Hockey) and was followed by appearances on two more U.S. National Teams and two U.S. Olympic Teams. This included serving as a member of the 1959 U.S. National Team that competed in the former Czechoslovakia, and the 1961 U.S. National Team that saw action in Switzerland.
In 1960, Johnson was a member of the United States Olympic Ice Hockey Team that captured the gold medal at the VIII Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. He scored three goals and added two assists, helping the U.S. to a 5-0-0 overall record. His contributions included the game-winning goal against Canada, the Olympic favorite, on a breakaway.
He was considered by many as the most talented player to come out of Minnesota in that era. Johnson also competed for the U.S. in 1964 at the IX Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria. By this time, Johnson had begun a 12-year professional playing career. He spent five seasons (1960-61 through 1965-66) in the IHL, splitting time between the Minneapolis Millers and the Des Moines Oak Leafs. During his time in the IHL, Johnson tallied 218 points on 118 goals and 100 assists in 242 regular-season games. He concluded his playing career in the USHL with the Waterloo Black Hawks. In seven seasons with Waterloo (1965-66 through 1968-69, and 1970-71 through 1972-73), he scored 152 goals and 131 assists, for 283 points.