Viewmont ice hockey coach Brian Acord describes many goalies as quirky, isolated and standoffish.
In a fraternity of players who are not very communicative, not very good leaders and not very friendly, Acord's man in net, Trey Johnson, is a rare find.
Johnson said that some in hockey circles don't believe him when he says he's a goalie because of his appearance. But more than his appearance, it's Johnson's demeanor that separates him from many who play his position.
Johnson, an outspoken leader, was named a team captain this year. The designation is a rarity because goalies aren't allowed to talk to referees, an important role for a captain in hockey.
"It's nice to help out the underclassmen, the kids that are looking up to you, and really be their role model," Johnson said. "I think it helps with your overall team morale. … If I'm looking for a huge win and I get everybody pumped up before the game, then it reflects on the ice. … It affects everybody."
Johnson, a senior, played behind Isaac Richardson last year. But Richardson graduated, so Johnson knew this season would be his time to shine.
"I know he was frustrated by it, but he stuck with it and the second that season ended, he was thinking, 'This is my year. Now it's my turn,'" Acord said. "He's just really come on strong as a leader and been able to focus."
Johnson saw things similarly.
"I knew this was my year and I had to really look forward to reach all my goals at the beginning of the season, so I've just been working hard," he said.
The hard work is paying off. Viewmont started the season 7-1 and had given up just 16 goals while scoring 45. The lone loss was a 3-2 setback to defending state champ Judge Memorial. Much of that success has to do with Johnson, who Acord said snatches up most of the shots he should and even some tough ones he shouldn't.
"He's done a really good job of improving his game and focusing on his game and making himself a better player," Acord said. "From that aspect, I wish we had more players that would take that competitive nature and use it to push themselves a little bit better like Trey has."
Having played hockey as a youngster, Johnson decided to take a few years off to try playing football, but he realized his heart was stuck on hockey.
"Hockey's just been all-around fun for me," Johnson said. "I've never come home disappointed. I'm always happy at practice, always happy in the games, always working hard to do my best. The competition is really fun for me. … I definitely feel the weight on my shoulders. I love the pressure, though. I love to step up and show people what I'm capable of."
He's certainly getting an opportunity to do that now and isn't disappointing.