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Jim Johannson, the assistant executive director of USA Hockey and general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, died in his sleep Sunday morning, USA Hockey said in a statement. He was 53.
USA Hockey said Johannson died at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“We are beyond shocked and profoundly saddened,” USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher said in the 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’s death comes a few weeks before the United States competes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The Games begin Feb. 9.
Johannson has been with USA Hockey since 2000. This season was going to be a challenge for the American team, as it would be competing without NHL players for the first time since 1994.
Johannson played college hockey at Wisconsin from 1982 to 1986 and led the Badgers to an NCAA title as a freshman. He played for the U.S. men’s hockey team in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics.
This year’s U.S. hockey squad is coached by Tony Granato, who was Johannson’s teammate on the 1988 squad.
We are devastated to announce that USA Hockey's Jim Johannson passed away early this morning. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family. JJ will be greatly missed, but always remembered for his immensely positive impact both on & off the ice. https://t.co/dOHdw6WjwP pic.twitter.com/lJcHMAuEjY— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 21, 2018