Mike Johnston back as Winterhawks GM/Coach - KPTV - FOX 12

Mike Johnston back as Winterhawks GM/Coach

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Mike Johnston is returning to Portland as the head coach and general manager of the Winterhawks Mike Johnston is returning to Portland as the head coach and general manager of the Winterhawks

The Portland Winterhawks announced their new general manager and head coach Wednesday, and it was a case of déjà vu.

Mike Johnston is back at the helm of the Winterhawks, after stepping away two years ago to head to the NHL.

Johnston was first hired by the team in 2008, and in his previous tenure with the Winterhawks, Johnston led the team to the 2013 Chynoweth Cup and had 231 wins, the second highest total for a coach in team history.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Winterhawks in my initial tenure with the organization, and coming back is a unique opportunity I couldn't pass up,"  Johnston said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting the Winterhawks back to being a championship contending team."

His first time heading the team also saw 24 Winterhawks get picked up in the NHL Draft, with six of those picks in the first round. This success with player development and on-ice performance made the choice an easy one for the Winterhawks owner Bill Gallacher.

"Mike's success first in turning around the Winterhawks, and then keeping them at that level made this an easy decision," he said. "Mike's track record speaks for itself, and I'm thrilled he's returning to the Winterhawks."

Johnston took over the head coaching spot with the Pittsburgh Penguins in June 2014, leading the team to the playoffs in his first season but stalling this year.

Johnston and the Penguins parted ways in December with the coach going 58-37-15 during his time in Pittsburgh.

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