Johnny got his first introduction to the sport of hockey serving as a mascot for his hometown Kenora Thistles Junior team of 1921-22. It did not take long before he became a regular on the Thistles lineup, playing defence with the juniors from 1925-29. In his final two seasons, Kenora claimed the Thunder Bay District junior titles.
Johnny's senior hockey was played in Montreal where he served as a defenceman with the Montreal A.A.A. In 1929-30 Montreal claimed the illustrious Allan Cup becoming the senior hockey champions of Canada. Not surprisingly, it did not take long for NHL teams to recognize his outstanding talents. The Montreal Maroons, having sponsored his senior team, felt that they had first claim on him. Johnny, however, had entered into negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs and it cost the Maroons $12,500 to get him on board for the 1930-31 season. This marked the beginning of his 7 year NHL career.
In 1933 Johnny had suffered some serious injuries as a result of an accident and it appeared that his hockey career was over. Not giving up on his dream to play professional hockey it did not take long before he was back in action playing in the International Hockey League during the 1934-35 season. Moving back into the NHL for the 1936-37 season Johnny's dream became a reality, winning the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.
Johnny spent his final two NHL seasons with the New York Americans before retiring from the professional ranks in 1939 with an NHL record of 204 games played, 14 goals and 19 assists.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26th, 1992