The late Jim Johannson (Rochester, Minn.), a two-time Olympian, had a nearly two-decade executive career at USA Hockey where his visionary efforts led to both record-breaking success on the international stage for the United States at all levels, and also significant growth of the sport across the country.
Among the numerous accomplishments during his career at USA Hockey, the most significant include U.S. teams capturing 64 medals in major international competition, including 34 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze; the launching and implementation of the highly acclaimed American Development Model; and securing USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, as a home for all U.S. teams to utilize.
Johannson, who grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, played collegiate ice hockey at the University of Wisconsin after being selected in the seventh round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by the Hartford Whalers. As a freshman, he helped the Badgers to the 1983 NCAA title. Over his four-year career at UW (1982-86), Johannson played in 148 games and recorded 130 points, including 63 goals and 67 assists.
During his time at Wisconsin, he also competed for the United States in both the 1983 and 1984 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Following graduation at UW, Johannson embarked on an eight-year professional playing career that began with a one-year stint competing for EV Landsberg in Germany in 1986-87. His final seven years were spent in the IHL, including stops in Salt Lake City, Indianapolis and Milwaukee with career totals of 279 points (119G, 160A) in 374 games played.
Following his playing days, he went on to serve as the general manager and head coach of the Twin City Vulcans of the USHL from 1995-98 and as GM from 1998-2000 and helped the Vulcans to the 2000 USA Hockey Junior A National Championship in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Johannson then joined USA Hockey as manager of international activities and U.S. Olympic Committee relations. In August of 2003, he was promoted to senior director of hockey operations. Soon after, Johannson assumed the position of assistant executive director of hockey operations where he had oversight of all in-sport related activities, including USA Hockey's efforts in putting teams on the field of play for international competition.
A beloved figure in the hockey community and beyond, Johannson passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 21, 2018, at the age of 53, just weeks before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games where he was slated to lead the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team as general manager.