Rochester's Johannson gets a posthumous call to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Rochester native Jim Johannson -- who played in two Olympic Games for Team USA and went on to a two-decade career at USA Hockey -- received a high honor Thursday. Johannson, who passed away in 2018,

Rochester native Jim Johannson died on Jan. 22, 2018, at age 53. Johannson, the assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey, is a 1982 Mayo High School graduate and a two-time Olympian. Thursday, he was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
File photo

ROCHESTER — Jim Johannson's high school coach remembers the first time they met.

"When I came to Rochester in 1966, I got to know (Jim's dad) Ken," long-time Mayo High School coach Lorne Grosso told the Post Bulletin in 2018 , "and Jim and John were always around, always skating and playing hockey. I coached Jim in (youth) hockey schools, when he was very young. I remember him zipping around cones and skating so well ... he was on the ice all the time.

"Ken always told me, 'he's going to make it big some day.'"

Ken Johannson was correct.

And though Jim Johannson passed away in January of 2018, his legacy as a standout player and later a well-respected and successful executive with USA Hockey, continues to live on.


Thursday Johannson received the ultimate honor: He will be part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Also Read
Jim Johannson, a 1982 Rochester Mayo graduate, was a two-time Olympian, an NCAA national champion and was the assistant executive director of USA Hockey when he died in January of 2018. Johannson
The sophomore-to-be is a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick and he talks about his whirlwind freshman season on The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.
The Stampede's new vice president of hockey operations and general manager also talks about growing up in Grand Forks with a college hockey coach as a dad, working with Bob Motzko, Nate Leaman and

Johannson is joined in this year's class by three-time Paralympic gold medalist Steve Cash, twin sisters and six-time World Championships gold medalists Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Ryan Miller, the winningest U.S.-born goaltender in NHL history.

Johannson grew up in Rochester and, along with his childhood friends, helped the Mayo Spartans reach the state tournament in 1982. It was the first of seven appearances for Mayo under Grosso in his 50 years as the program's head coach.

"He was a feisty player," Grosso said. "He never backed down from anybody. He was a great player, a great leader. He wasn't very vocal; he was a quiet leader. He never said too many words, but he made his teammates comfortable and confident.

"He's one of the best players I've ever coached."

Johannson then became one in a string of Rochester players to play college hockey at Division I power University of Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers win an NCAA title in 1983, beating Harvard 6-2 in the title game. Johannson recorded 63 goals and 129 points in 148 games at Wisconsin. His brother, John, was also on the Badgers'1983 title team.

Jim Johannson played in two Olympics — the 1984 and 1988 Games — becoming one of three hockey players from Rochester to do so (Eric Strobel and Guy Gosselin the others).


Johannson began working for USA Hockey in 2000 and was promoted to assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007. He wore many hats for USA Hockey, including building the roster for the 2018 U.S. Olympic team, the first to not have NHL players since 1994.

He passed away at his home in Colorado Springs , Colo., on Jan. 22, 2018, just two weeks before the team he assembled took the ice for the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. He and his wife, Abigail, whom he married in 2011, have one daughter, Ellie.

"He was a very kind and genuine person," Rochester Mayo activities director Jeff Whitney, who played high school hockey with Johannson, said at the time. "He was always in a very good, calm mood. He had a very dry sense of humor, but always found fun in everything."

Johannson was born into a hockey family in 1964. His father, Ken, played at the University of North Dakota from 1950-53, then played eight seasons for the Rochester Mustangs. He also served as the general manager for the 1980 U.S. Olympics team, better known as the "Miracle On Ice" team. Ken and his wife, Marietta (who passed away in July, 2010), kept the family in Rochester, where he worked for Mayo Clinic. Ken passed away less than a year after Jim died, in late 2018.

Jim Johannson also has two siblings: A sister, Judy, and a brother, John, who graduated from Mayo in 1980.

"He was a big kid, a tall power forward," Whitney said in 2018. "He could stick-handle in one place and have more people miss than anyone I knew. Most guys worry about speed and fancy skating, but Jimmy could stand in one spot and you'd try to attack him and you'd miss three or four times and he hadn't moved more than three feet. He was extremely crafty with the puck."

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Eveleth, Minn., approximately 60 miles north of Duluth.

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or
What to read next
The longtime Duluth East boys hockey coach joined the Cadets last season and took over as head coach in the offseason. He talks about the late Steve Jensen, the coldest arenas in the state and more.
The Rink Live reporters look back at the NCHC series between the Fighting Hawks and Huskies, Colorado College at Minnesota Duluth; Big 10 series between Gophers, Spartans; WCHA series with UMD,
The three-time Olympians were recognized at a ceremony in St. Paul on Wednesday night.
Jon Ammerman joins The Rink Live podcast to talk about this season's boys hockey team. He also talks about the state of hockey for high school age boys, his relationship with Andover's coaches and