HO-HO-KUS, N.J. - Former Atlantic Affiliate forward Marc Johnstone is lacing up his skates for his second season in the American Hockey League. Born in Cranford, New Jersey, he has been working hard for nearly a decade to make the progression from amateur to professional hockey.
Johnstone’s first professional season was in 2013 when he played for the Kenai River Brown Bears. He only played two games that season on the road to the playoffs, but returned the following season with the Brown Bears. Johnstone’s former coach and current Atlantic Affiliate Coach-in-Chief Ryan Carter remembered his time leading the star saying, “he has a relentless work ethic that has allowed him to achieve his goals in life and hockey thus far.”
As a youth player, Johnstone worked hard playing in the AYHL for the New Jersey Rockets and North Jersey Avalanche while also playing high school hockey for St. Joseph High School in Metuchen. Following his youth playing career, he went to play for the Chicago Steel where he immediately earned the assistant captain title. He stayed there for a second season before advancing to Sacred Heart University.
In the NCAA, Johnstone made his presence known. His first season he had 13 goals and 17 assists, followed by five goals and 17 assists in his second year. He was chosen as captain of the team his third and fourth years, but left part way through the season to play professionally.
Carter recalls how big of a force Johnstone was on St. Joe’s bench. “One of the best moments was his penalty shot late in the third period that gave us a 2-1 lead, and eventual win against Don Bosco Prep.” Since playing youth, Johnstone has been known for keeping his composure even under pressure.
In his second season with the ECHL, Johnstone found his footing playing in 58 games and accumulating 21 points. He helped the Newfoundland Growlers advance to the playoffs where he had another four goals and four assists in 19 games. During four games with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, he caught the coaching staff’s attention.
The 2022-2023 season is his first full season playing in the AHL and so far he has seen the ice in 15 games. As he continues developing his skills on the professional ice, he is keeping the dream alive to play in the National Hockey League someday.
When asked about Johnstone’s strongest attribute, Carter had a simple answer. “Never once do I remember Marc shying away from a challenge. He has the ability to raise his level, which in turn elevates those around him.”