US hockey GM dies unexpectedly at Colorado Springs home

hockeyJim Johannson speaks during a news conference in Plymouth, Mich., Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Longtime USA Hockey executive Jim Johannson will serve as general manager for the U.S. men's hockey team at the 2018 Olympics. Tony Granato will be the team's coach. . (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Jim Johannson, the overall supervisor of the U.S. Olympic males’s hockey staff, has died on the eve of the Pyeongchang Video games. He was 53.

Johannson handed away in his sleep Sunday morning, in keeping with USA Hockey. Government director Pat Kelleher mentioned the group is “past shocked and profoundly saddened” by the lack of the Rochester, Minnesota native.

“As achieved as Jim was in hockey, he was the best possible, most humble, sort and caring particular person you can ever hope to satisfy,” Kelleher mentioned in a launch. “His impression on our sport and extra importantly the folks and gamers in our sport have been immeasurable. Our condolences exit to his total household, however particularly to his loving spouse Abby and their younger daughter Ellie.”

Johannson’s position in choosing this 12 months’s Olympic staff was his most high-profile job in a profession spent in hockey. He additionally performed for the U.S. within the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

America faces Slovenia in its Pyeongchang opener on Feb. 14.

“We misplaced a real pal in Jim Johannson at the moment,” mentioned U.S. coach and 1988 teammate Tony Granato mentioned. “He was so compassionate and as loyal a pal as you can have. He was the final word teammate.”

Johannson started working for USA Hockey in 2000 after spending 5 years as the overall supervisor of the Twin Cities Vulcans in america Hockey League. He was promoted to assistant government director of hockey operations in 2007, overseeing the group’s efforts in fielding groups for worldwide competitors.

He performed faculty hockey at Wisconsin and helped the Badgers win the NCAA championship as a freshman. He was chosen by Hartford within the seventh spherical of the 1982 draft, however by no means performed within the NHL.

“Once we heard of JJ’s passing, we’re reminded of what an pleasurable particular person he was to be round, and in addition what he meant to USA Hockey and hockey worldwide,” Buffalo Sabres house owners Terry and Kim Pegula, who’ve a powerful connection to USA Hockey, mentioned in a launch.

“We must always all attempt to do our jobs and deal with folks as JJ did. Jim Johannson, you may have moved on, however you’ll not be forgotten. We are going to miss you.”

Sabres coach Phil Housley, whom Johannson picked to steer the U.S. on the 2015 world juniors and gained gold, mentioned the longtime USA Hockey government was the most effective leaders and “grew our recreation to new heights.”

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