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US hockey GM dies unexpectedly at 53

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Longtime USA Hockey executive and U.S. Olympic men's hockey general manager Jim Johannson died unexpectedly Sunday at age 53, shocking the sport less than three weeks before the start of the Pyeongchang Games.

Johannson died in his sleep at his home in Colorado Springs, according to USA Hockey. His death came in the midst of the most high-profile role in his career: putting together the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team without NHL players going to South Korea, a position he relished after doing so at several world junior and world championships.

"He had a couple of the greatest days of his life at USA Hockey recently to be able to call all these guys that never thought in their lives they'd play on a U.S. Olympic hockey team, and he got to tell them that they realized a dream," USA Hockey execute director Pat Kelleher said by phone. "I think that meant as much to Jimmy as it did to any of the players."

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