ECHL: An Interview With Two-Time Kelly Cup and June M. Kelly Award Winner Goaltender Cam Johnson

Photo: Andrew Fielder for Inside The Rink

The Florida Everblades have won back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships, and one of the biggest reasons for their success has been Goaltender Cam Johnson. The 29-year-old Goaltender has spent the last five seasons in Estero with the Everblades after spending his first year in the ECHL with the Adirondack Thunder, “Everything, the coaching staff, the fans, the equipment staff, even the ticket ushers and the security guards, It’s like a big family” said Johnson when asked about what has kept him Estero for the last five years. However, before the two Kelly Cup Championships, it was a rough time for Lee County as they not only had to deal with the COVID restrictions in 2020 but also dealt with the destruction that Hurricane Ian caused. Each of the last two Kelly Cups the Everblades have won, they have been able to raise the cup in front of their home fans in Estero, “Ya, that’s the main thing, we’ve shared it with our fans the last two years, and we’ve had some good parties in the locker room, a lot of memories we’ll all have forever” said Johnson. I asked Johnson about what it meant to him to win back-to-back June M. Kelly Award Winner, which goes to the ECHL Playoff MVP. He mentioned that it’s just an extra accolade, “It’s cool, it’s a nice feather to put in your cap, but the Kelly Cups are what mean the most when you win, you’re winning for more than yourself; we did it for the guys in the locker room, and those are gonna be your friends for your whole life, obviously the fans when you can give them a championship like that after all the ups and downs we give them” said Johnson.

Christian Slemp/InsideTheRink

Like most professionals, Johnson was on skates from a young age and mentioned that players would always take turns playing goal and that he would always play against the good teams, “My dad got me skating when I was young; I don’t know why I become a goalie, I regret every day,” said Johnson jokingly. I asked him what it’s like being a goaltender, and he touched on the amount of work and focus that goes into the job, “I always joke with people and tell them I play a different sport, I don’t play hockey, I gotta be dialed in the whole time, it’s a little tiring sometimes” said Johnson. Prior to going pro, Johnson spent four seasons at the University of North Dakota, where he went 56-26-12 with a 2.10 GAA, .914 SV%, and 1tenshutouts during his four years there, including winning a national championship, which broke a 16-year drought for the Fighting Hawks, “Amazing, I always tell people I peaked way too early, and that was the best of the best, but I had a great time there, and we had some really good teams which made it a lot of fun and we ended the National Championship Drought there so we were kinda like celebrities” said Johnson when asked about his time at North Dakota.

Florida Everblades Head Coach Brad Ralph Post-Game Remarks 2/14/2024
Florida Everblades Forward #44 Nathan Staios Post-Game Remarks 2/14/2024

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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