Fernie Ghostriders player Johnny Elias is chasing his hockey dreams all the way to the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Elias, who grew up in Whitehorse, never imagined playing hockey so far from home but feels confident to make the move since Riders teammates Gavin Lawrie and Dylan Defosse will also be joining him.
“In addition to all of that, I do not have a chance at any of this without the help of my parents, family (including billet family Jan and Rob Baker), and (minor hockey/to this day) coaches Martin Lawrie and Jakob Jirousek,” said Elias. “First and foremost, I have to give a lot of credit to Jeff Wagner and the Fernie Ghostriders for what they have done for me. Revitalized my hockey career. Their constant devotion to developing and moving players on whilst maintaining a top-tier organization is unprecedented in the KIJHL.”
Elias’ move to the University of Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines follows a discussion with coach Chris Haltinner and plenty of research on the school’s reputation.
“He has done a tremendous job recruiting and building a first-class program, which we could see right out of the gate,” Elias said. “The fact that they are in the hunt for a national championship year after year didn’t hurt the case either.”
In his last season with the Ghostriders, Elias had 19 goals and 51 points in 52 games. When looking back on his season, Elias thought that he played well and consistently improved throughout the entire season. By working hard and maturing as a player and person, Elias was able to find his confidence.
“I still have so much more to give to that place,” Elias said of Fernie, where he will start the 2020-2021 season. “A big thing was that the coaches trusted me early and gave me opportunities that I ran with.”
In 100 career regular season and playoffs games, nineteen-year-old Elias has 27 goals and 67 points.