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James Johannson


1964 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
James Johannson Obituary
James Johannson

Colorado Springs, CO - James Johannson, 53, passed away unexpectedly in the early morning hours of January 21, 2018, at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Johannson had an unparalleled love for his family, hockey (and golf), and an endless zest for life. Johannson, a two-time Olympian, was an accomplished hockey player and executive whose impact reached across the globe. Born on March 10, 1964 in Rochester, Minnesota, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1982-86, and alongside his brother John, helped the Badgers win an NCAA Championship during his freshman season. He was selected in the 7th round of the NHL draft in 1982 by the Hartford Whalers and went on to play several seasons in the International Hockey League. Johannson also spent two years playing in the Bavarian region in Germany - which he frequently referenced as amongst his most cherished experiences. He was extremely honored to represent his country in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Winter Games. Following his playing career, Johannson spent five years as the General Manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans, and captured the USA Junior A Championship in the 2000 season. He joined USA Hockey later that year, and his 18-year tenure is marked by unprecedented success for American teams in international competition. He served as a team executive and/or general manager for nearly every Men's USA Hockey team since 2000. Under Johannson's watch, U.S. teams won 64 medals in major international competition, including 34 gold, 19 silver, and 11 bronze medals. Notably, in the 2016-17 season, U.S. teams captured five gold medals in international play, a feat no other country in the world has ever accomplished. He was instrumental in the development of the National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan (originally located in Ann Arbor), as well as the acquisition of their base facility - the USA Hockey Arena - which now serves as the home arena for varied USA Hockey activities. His passion reached to all levels of hockey - including the launching of much acclaimed programs to benefit young players, coaches, and officials. At the time of his passing, Johannson was preparing to lead Team USA as General Manager of the Men's Ice Hockey team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. While recognizing a career of success on the ice, Johannson was innately more accomplished in life. His true championships were earned as a humble, caring, and thoughtful husband, father, friend, and teammate. He was that gracious friend you could always trust, and he never declined a friend, player, or family in need. Johannson was most proud to contribute to the unprecedented success of the American born hockey player over the last two decades - yet regularly attributed any success to others. A sincere and caring soul, he was kind, gentle and generous. Any encounter with Johannson started and ended with discussion about his family. He married Abigail Tompkins on September 10, 2011. They welcomed their daughter, Eleanor Louise, into their world in December 2015. Nothing could ever rival Johannson's love and affection for his wife Abby, and their two-year-old daughter, Ellie. Every discussion was interspersed with a photo or video of Ellie. Every international competition or meeting included Abby and Ellie. Everyone around this sweet gentleman recognized his unfailing love for his wife and daughter. He will be remembered as a patriot, and loving husband, father, and friend. Johannson was preceded in death by his mother, Marietta. He is survived by his wife, Abby and daughter Ellie (Colorado Springs, CO); father Kenneth Johannson (Rochester, MN); Sister Judy Stevenson (Neenah, WI - husband Judd, and children Tyler and Taylor); brother John (Minneapolis, MN - wife Margarita, and children Johnny, Matias, Anna, and Daniela); and countless friends and acquaintances around the world. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to either The USA Hockey Foundation (for the benefit of the "Jim Johannson Legacy Fund"), 1775 Bob Johnson Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, 80906; or to the Eleanor Johannson 529 Education Fund; c/o Morgan Stanley, 34901 Woodward Avenue; Suite 300; Birmingham, MI 48009. Visitation will be on Wednesday, January 24, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Swan-Law Funeral Home, 501 N. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, 80903. A Memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 25, at 11:00 AM at First Presbyterian Church, 219 Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, Co, 80903. Reception to follow.



Published in Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News on Jan. 24, 2018
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