How Canadian Will Johansen Found his Home at RMU


Johansen has spent five years in Moon Township, scoring his first career hat trick against Utah and Bellarmine Photo credit: Hope Beatty

Nate Fanell

After collecting his first career hat trick against Utah on Saturday and another one on Wednesday against Bellarmine, Will Johansen has been a key member for five years in the program.

Johansen is from British Columbia, Canada. Although residing in a country typically known for their love of hockey, Will Johansen fell in love with lacrosse starting at a young age.

Growing up, Johansen idolized National Lacrosse League star, Dan Dawson, and even had the opportunity to work with him at a young age.

“I started playing at about six years old,” Johansen said. “One of my favorite players growing up was Dan Dawson and I did some camps with him too, he’s someone that I’ve definitely always looked up to.”

Lacrosse was not the only sport Johansen played growing up, as he was active in three sports.

“I played hockey for about 10 years and also played basketball in middle school and high school,” Johansen said. “I just stuck with [lacrosse] and once I went to high school that’s when I had to make the decision to narrow it down and decided to stick with lacrosse.”

Johansen’s recruitment started off slow, causing him to commit later than usual.

“I wouldn’t say I was the best player in high school,” Johansen said. “I didn’t commit to Robert Morris until the end of my senior year. My high school hosted a tournament called B.C.’s Best and a bunch of coaches came. I was lucky enough to receive an email from Robert Morris.”

While making his decision on which college he would attend, Johansen had an unusual opportunity as he and his best friend were presented with the opportunity to play together. In the end, they decided to make dreams a reality and team up at Robert Morris.

“I was actually best friends with Colton Lidstone, who’s also here now. We were both talking to Robert Morris and just decided it would be a pretty cool opportunity to go to the same college.”

Robert Morris has several students from Canada, especially athletes on the men’s lacrosse team.

Johansen explained how the other Canadian student-athletes at Robert Morris helped ease his transition.

“It’s definitely great. There’s a couple boys from my high school a bit older than me that were here before me, so they gave me a little of information about the school. It definitely made the transition a bit easier.”

In his first four years with the Colonials, Johnasen excelled on the field. So much so that he was drafted seventh overall in the 2022 National Lacrosse League Draft. Through it all, Johansen has remained humble.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to going out there. I already know a couple guys on the team and that’s gonna be a really fun thing.”

Johansen will remain busy throughout the summer as he plans to continue playing lacrosse in Canada before training camp begins in October.

“I’m probably going head back home to B.C. in the summer, and play some box lacrosse there. And then once training camp starts head up there and see what I can do,” Johansen said.

As his collegiate career comes towards the end, Johansen took a moment to reflect on what will stick with him most from his time at Robert Morris.

“I’d say the most memorable thing is the championships, nothing really beats that,” Johansen said. “The times in the locker room, buses rides, hotels. Even the days where we are working hard on the field in the early morning. It’s all just spending time with the guys, that’s something I’ll remember forever.”

With the team struggling in recent games, the veteran has confidence in his team and believes they must have a short term memory in order to get back to their winning ways.

“I think we just have to stick with the process, we’ve been putting in a lot of work all year,” Johansen said. “Maybe some of the results haven’t gone our way, but all we can do is work hard and keep finding ways to get better. Can’t really look too far ahead or dwell on the past too much, just gotta take it day by day.”

The Colonials have four games remaining in the regular season and then begin what will be Johansen’s final conference tournament.

He will be looking to go out with one more championship on his resume, as there is no ending more fitting to such an incredible and accomplished career.