US hockey GM (and former UW player) dies unexpectedly - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

US hockey GM (and former UW player) dies unexpectedly

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP/WKOW) -- 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 in 1983. He also was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1988 and 1992.

Wisconsin head coach and Team USA hockey coach Tony Granato released the following statement on Johannson's unexpected passing:
"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. Please pray for Jim's wife and daughter, Abby and Ellie."

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