Jim Johannson, longtime executive of USA Hockey and the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s team, died Sunday morning. He was 53.
USA Hockey announced the news in a press release, specifying that Johannson passed away in his sleep early Sunday morning at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., despite no known previous health issues.
“We are beyond shocked and profoundly saddened,” USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher said in a statement. “As accomplished as Jim was in hockey, he was the absolute best, most humble, kind and caring person you could ever hope to meet. His impact on our sport and more importantly the people and players in our sport have been immeasurable. Our condolences go out to his entire family, but especially to his loving wife Abby and their young daughter Ellie.”
Johannson initially joined USA Hockey in 2000 as manager of international activities and U.S. Olympic Committee relations. He also represented Team USA at the Winter Olympics in 1988 and 1992 as well as the world championships in 1992.
“Jim’s positive influence was enormous and will be felt for generations to come,” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said in a statement. “He was widely respected across the world and his genuine nature helped advance our sport in so many ways. Today, we are a medal contender every time we put a team on the ice for international competition, and he played a major role in helping us get to that point. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family. It’s a sad day for all of us.”
Johannson played forward at Wisconsin from 1982-86 and was later selected by the Hartford Whalers in the seventh round of the 1982 NHL Draft. He played seven seasons in the International Hockey League, logging 119 goals and 278 points with 420 minutes in penalties over 374 games.