Sam Johnson ladies and gentlemen. He's a player that Steinbrenner is lucky to have helping their plans to returning to nationals in the next few years. He'll stick out to you the next time you're watching the Steinbrenner Warriors play with his blue Jr. Lightning helmet and gloves and being the member of the team that can be relied on to rack up shifts on both defense and offense when needed. He's been playing hockey for 8 years now and has a history with the gulf Coast Flames as well as the Jr. Lightning before donning the gold for Steinbrenner. Expect him to stonewall you at his blue line and walk around you at yours. Versatility is the name of Sam's game and if him being an any-position-player isn't enough for you, the contrasts between his replies to me asking him what his favorite food is, and why he wears the number he does should speak for itself, "Favorite food? Easily wings from Wingstop. My number? Honestly, on Steinbrenner I took what number they had available which is 14. But for my travel years I have consistently always been number 43. The reason why it is 43 is because when I was a squirt the Jackie Robinson movie was out and I had just seen it. I really wanted 42 but it was already taken and therefore I asked for the next number 43 and it has just stuck with me. 43 is also a cool number because it is the year that the Hockey Hall of Fame was established. So I think my number is pretty cool."
Sam is a fan of where he's ended up for high school, "My first year was pretty good. I had a lot of fun and was able to improve my game. Coach Bubley gave me the opportunity to play with Steinbrenner’s seniors and starting line. This challenged me and gave me confidence to play at a different level in this league. When everyone is playing like a team with whatever talent they have (in house rec or up to AAA) makes for good hockey. The game isn’t as much fun when the teams that have the talent always seem to have the team feed the AAA player the puck. I would like to see the league coaches work on getting the best out of each player and help them develop individually and in the long run make the team as a whole a solid team and not relying on just a few players to carry the team. Seriously, what happens when those players are away for their travel games? You get a whole different game and result. I like how my team has run things so far though. It is a fun group of players and coaches. We have our fun times and we have our serious moments as most teams do." Steinbrenner may not have lived up to their successes from last season, but they knew to start shaping Sam and the other young players to set themselves up for the future.
Sam's goals for the past year and the future put everything into perspective, "Overall this last year, I wanted to have a good time in my freshman year in school and at hockey. Make friends and create a good foundation for my high school years was the goal going into it. Going into next year, my goals are to graduate and attend college. I would like to continue to play hockey for Steinbrenner and on a travel team. My dream job would be to eventually become a Maine Game Warden." I have to say that I've heard NHL, Professional Hockey Player, Engineer, and Computer Scientist tossed around a few times this year throughout interviews, but working with wildlife, specifically the wildlife that call Maine home, has not been said very often. Sam still expects hockey to take him somewhere though, "My hope is to stay healthy and injury free to allow me to play hockey as long as I can into my senior years and perhaps even coach. My hope is to play college hockey at any level. I want to have a well-rounded college life and experience everything that college has to offer.
Sam is exactly what I'd call wise beyond his years. I always ask players what they want to see from themselves after going through high school and finding their way through life for a few years, "? I hope to be graduated from College, starting my career and playing hockey for fun. I would also be interested in coaching and giving back my knowledge to the next generation. Perhaps Coach Bubley will have a spot on his bench. For now I know that if I have to give any advice to Freshman this upcoming season, it's simply to keep their feet moving and they'll be ok." He doesn't leave anything to be just about him, "I am thankful for my health and the opportunity that my parents have given me to pursue my endeavors in hockey. I am also thankful for my Mom and sister they are my biggest fans and supporters. I owe thanks to my big brother, Mack Johnson. He too is a hockey player that played for Steinbrenner and is in college now playing. He has always looked after me and shown me how to be a good teammate and hockey player." I can't wait to see where Sam goes, and the next time you're watching the Steinbrenner Warriors play and you see a number 14 out on the ice, remember that both blue lines are dangerous.