USA Hockey's Jim Johannson has died

January 21, 2018

(WGR 550) - USA Hockey was shaken to its core on Sunday with the news of the death of Jim Johannson. The 53-year-old was the assistant executive director of USA Hockey and the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team.

Johannson had been to Buffalo many times for USA Hockey events and always loved coming here.

Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula tweeted out:

When we heard of JJ's passing, we are reminded what a good person he was, and what he meant to USA Hockey and hockey worldwide. We should all strive to have an impact at our jobs and treat people as JJ did. Jim Johannson, you have moved on,but you will not be forgotten.

— Kim Pegula (@KimPegula) January 21, 2018

Sabres head coach Phil Housley was very close to Johannson, who hired him to coach Team USA to the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. Housley had just found out about Johannson's death after practice and was too upset to talk. He tweeted out:

It comes with a heavy heart hearing about the passing of my close friend JJ. One of the best leaders of @usahockey who grew our game to new heights! My thoughts and prayers are with his family and he will truly be missed, but his legacy will carry on. It’s a sad day for hockey!

— Phil Housley (@philhousley6) January 21, 2018

Sabres forward Kyle Okposo is from Minnesota, where Johannson grew up. He tweeted:

Jim Johannson was an amazing person. JJ was synonymous with USA Hockey and its leadership. My condolences to his family. You will be missed but not forgotten. Rest In Peace

— Kyle Okposo (@bookerT2116) January 21, 2018

Once he got to Calgary, Jack Eichel tweeted: 

volumes as other USA Hockey family members can attest. His passion for the many teams and his players was beyond comparison in the sport. My heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter, and relatives

— Jack Eichel (@Jackeichel15) January 21, 2018

Johannson played his college hockey at Wisconsin, and won a NCAA championship in 1983. He played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1988 and 1992.

He was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the seventh round of the 1982 Entry Draft, but never played a NHL game. He did play in the old IHL with Salt Lake, Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

Johannson came to USA Hockey in 2000 as manager of international activities. He was senior director of hockey activities from 2003-2007 and then became assistant executive director of hockey operations. 

Johannson was to leave very soon for South Korea as the general manager of Team USA.