Early Sunday morning former Wisconsin hockey player and General Manager of the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team Jim Johannson died at his home in Colorado, according to USA Hockey.
Johannson played for the Badgers from 1982 to 1986 and was a member of the 1983 NCAA Championship team. Over his collegiate career Johannson recorded 63 goals and 67 assists.
Johannson competed for Team USA in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics and later went on to work as an executive with USA Hockey.
Johannson was faced with a unique challenge for this upcoming Olympics, as the NHL has decided not to send their players to the games this year. Johannson, a respected hockey mind, built this year’s team out of talented young college players and professionals in the other top leagues in the world, namely the KHL and the SHL.
Wisconsin and U.S. Olympic Hockey Coach Tony Granato was a former teammate of Johannson and had been working closely with him preparing for the upcoming Olympics.
“We lost a true friend in Jim Johannson today,” Granato said on Twitter. “He was so compassionate and as loyal a friend as you could have. He was the ultimate teammate. I am deeply saddened and shocked and sorry that he is no longer with us. He was a special human being.”
We lost a true friend in Jim Johannson today.
He was so compassionate and as loyal a friend as you could have. He was the ultimate teammate.
I am deeply saddened and shocked and sorry that he is no longer with us.
He was a special human being. pic.twitter.com/vGAR4ZTFu2
— Coach Tony Granato (@TonyGranato) January 21, 2018
The outpouring of grief from the hockey world evidences the impact Johannson had on the game and the many players and people he worked with.
Johannson was 53-years-old.