Jim Johannson, the general manager of the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team, has died just a couple weeks before the start of the Pyeongchang Games. He was 53.
Johannson passed away in his sleep Sunday morning, according to USA Hockey. Executive director Pat Kelleher says the organization is "beyond shocked and profoundly saddened" by the loss of the Rochester, Minnesota native.
Johannson began working for USA Hockey in 2000 after spending five years as the general manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans in the United States Hockey League. He was promoted to assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007, overseeing the organization's efforts in fielding teams for international competition.
He played college hockey at Wisconsin and helped the Badgers win the NCAA championship as a freshman. He also was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1988 and 1992.
Sabres Owner Terry Pegula and his Wife Kim shared this statement on the passing:
Statement on the passing of @usahockey's Jim Johannson. pic.twitter.com/BNbh1PP827
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 21, 2018
Sabres Coach Phil Housley also commented:
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