Through my eyes: Former Force goalie says ‘mental aspect’ toughest part of gig
FARGO — Former Force goalie Cam Johnson admits that it takes at least a small amount of insanity to stand in the net and face 90 mph slapshots. But, he adds, he’s more than game.
“It’s definitely a mindset,” Johnson said during an interview for a story that is part of a new Forum News Service series called Through My Eyes. “You gotta be crazy to stop a puck that’s coming at you like 90 mph. I love it; I live for that.”
Through My Eyes is a reporting series that uses the new technology Google Glass, which essentially is head-mounted computer hardware that allows you to access the Internet, use Google applications and, of course, to record video.
We asked the Force’s Johnson to don the Google Glass and give us a firsthand look at what it’s like to play goalie at an elite level. You can catch that video story online at http://bcove.me/ghxctlgf.
Johnson, who’s been playing hockey since he was 3, was born and raised in Troy, Mich. He started playing goalie in second grade, stating that he found success at the position early on and thus fell in love with the job.
Johnson said goalies have to make split-second decisions about how to stop a puck, and so natural reactions and instinct can take over.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you what goes through my mind, just ‘I’m going to stop this puck,’” he said.
He added that the most challenging aspect of playing goalie is the mental preparation it takes. And when it comes time for a mental shake-up after a loss, Johnson said he will re-tape his goalie stick. That is his goalie superstition.
In the Through My Eyes video, Johnson shows us what it is like to be in the net with a shooter bearing down on him. But ultimately he demonstrates the confidence it takes to stand in the net, having hard, rubber pucks shot at him and potentially standing between your team’s loss or your team’s win.
“Yeah, you know, when you’re standing in the net, you see a guy coming down, through my eyes, you’re going to see me making a ton of saves,” Johnson said in the video.
After being traded from the Green Bay, Wis., Gamblers Johnson spent the 2012-13 season, and much of the 2013-14 season, with the Force. In January he was traded to the Waterloo, Iowa, Black Hawks in a move Force Coach John Marks said was an effort to invest in his team’s future. The Force received a goalie, a forward and two draft picks in return for Johnson.
In his two years with the Force, Johnson played in 48 games, compiling a record of 16-22-9 record with an average save percentage of .909 and 3.17 goals against average. He had one shutout.
Johnson will be playing for the University of North Dakota starting this fall.
The Force finish out the 2013-14 regular season with games at home Friday, Saturday and April 4 and 5.