ST. JOHN’S, NL (July 30, 2020) – The Newfoundland Growlers, proud affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that 2018-19 Kelly Cup champion and the Growlers’ reigning defenseman of the year Garrett Johnston has signed a standard player contract with the club for the upcoming 2020-21 ECHL season.
Johnston, 25, returns for his third season with the Growlers and is coming off an impressive season that saw the left-handed blueliner set a new professional career high with 26 points, including three goals and 23 assists. His plus/minus rating of +18 was the third-highest total on the Growlers this past season.
The 2019-20 season was a breakthrough year for the rearguard. His strong and consistent play in the ECHL earned a Professional Tryout (PTO) contract with the Growlers’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Johnston made his AHL debut against the Syracuse Crunch on March 6.
Johnston is excited to return to Newfoundland and hopes to continue his path forward again in 2020-21.
“It’s been a very successful program in its first two years,” Johnston said of the Growlers.“It’s a great place to play and a great place to develop. The goal for everyone is to try to move up and I think I have the best chance to do that in Newfoundland. It was really a no-brainer (to re-sign).”
The 6-2, 190-pounder led all Growlers defensemen in games played with 57. His steady presence and poise on the back end did not go unnoticed, as he was voted the club’s Defenseman of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
Growlers Head Coach John Snowden was quick to admit how important it was to lock down his top defenseman for another season.
“We all know what he means to the lineup,” Snowden said.“He plays against the toughest matchups. He plays more lines and more minutes than most guys on this team every night. He plays in every situation. To get a guy like him, a character like him and a player like him back into our lineup was a big focus for our staff this offseason.”
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was a crucial component of the Growlers’ Kelly Cup defensive corps in his first season in the ECHL in 2018-19. He appeared in 39 games and recorded 19 points (2G, 17A) as a Growler after starting the season with the SPHL’s Birmingham Bulls. Johnston played in all 23 of the Growlers’ payoff games and recorded another two goals and five assists en route to the Kelly Cup.
2020-21 Regiment Gold Memberships
Regiment Gold Season Ticket Memberships for the 2020-2021 season are on sale now. As part of the Growlers' most loyal fan group, you will receive new premium benefits that have never been included until now. There has never been a better time to be a Growlers Season Ticket Member. For more information visit nlgrowlers.com/regimentgold.