Mark Johnson’s No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers hockey jersey will hang from the rafters at the Kohl Center, elevated in a ceremony Feb. 9.
The top goal-scorer in program history is known for his work with the Badgers and in the Olympics, where he was part of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” gold medalist United States men’s hockey team. He also recently became the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s hockey and has led the Wisconsin women to four national titles since beginning his tenure in 2002.
His jersey will be retired when the Badgers men host Ohio State. The No. 10 will remain in circulation, but the jersey will forever hang over “Bob Johnson Rink,” the sheet of ice at the Kohl Center named for Mark Johnson’s father, the legendary longtime Badgers coach who died in 1991.
“I feel very fortunate that I had an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream,” Johnson said in a UW release. “I remember being a stick boy when I was 8 or 9 and watching Badger hockey for a lot of years on the bench hoping one day I would get to wear the jersey and play for the University of Wisconsin. I got the opportunity to do that and have great memories. This is going to be a great memory that I am extremely proud of and certainly my family is very proud of. It is going to be a very special night and I am looking forward to it. I can’t be more appreciative.”
Johnson, who attended Madison Memorial High School, helped the Badgers win the national title in his freshman season in 1977. He was a two-time first-team All-American and the 1979 most valuable player in the WCHA.
His 125 goals in just three seasons (since he spent the 1980 season with the national team) remains a record, notched in just 125 games played. He also holds single-season records with 48 goals and 90 points. His 256 points are second in school lore.
He played in two Frozen Fours, including with the 1977 championship team.
“Mark is so deserving. When you think of his contributions and our program, nobody even comes close,” UW men’s coach Tony Granato said. “Mark came straight from Madison Memorial High School and dominated college hockey. He accomplished more in three years than anyone else has done here in our history. He might be the greatest college hockey player of all-time.
“His love of Wisconsin brought him back after his professional playing career and his impact on our school now is as big as it has ever been.”
He led the United States team in scoring during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. He scored twice in the famous semifinal win over the Soviet Union and two more in the gold-clinching contest against Finland. It’s considered one of the greatest American sports moments ever.
Johnson played 11 years in the National Hockey League and also coached at the international level. He led the U.S. women to a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics.
He’s a charter member of the UW Athletics Hall of Fame and a two-time inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as both a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and as an individual. He was also a 1999 inductee into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame.