DENVER (AP) — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson played in 1,000 NHL games before making his first Stanley Cup Final. It took him that long to steadily chip away at his college degree as well.

Johnson finished his general studies degree from the University of Michigan this spring. By doing so he fulfilled a promise not only to himself but to his college coach, Red Berenson.

Johnson said he gradually worked on his degree over the years by taking classes in the spring when his team didn’t make the postseason.

He said his hardest class was statistics.