Usa Hockey is dealing with a great tragedy this weekend. General manager Jim Johannson -- who was in charge of the men's Olympic hockey team heading to South Korea in the coming weeks -- passed away suddenly at the age of 53. No cause of death was immediately available, although he is known to have passed away in his sleep overnight at his Colorado Springs home. He leaves behind a family and a legacy in hockey that dates all the way back to his youth.

Johannson's legacy

After serving as the general manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans, a Junior A team, Johannson joined USA Hockey in 2000.

He served as manager of international activities and U.S. Olympic Committee relations. Eventually, the former Olympian and professional hockey player rose to the rank of senior director of hockey operations, a role he served in for four years. Then, he became assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007, a role he served in until his passing.

Under his leadership, USA Hockey was a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. The country took home 64 medals in major international competitions, including 34 gold medals. Johannson was also responsible for the launch of the American Development Model, a strategy meant to spur growth in the sport across the country. One of his last duties was to help select the team that will represent the country in PyeongChang, a group that now has an emotional chip on their shoulder going forward.

USA Hockey mourns

The executive director of USA Hockey, Pat Kelleher, released a statement expressing shock and sadness while sending condolences to his wife and daughter. President Jim Smith talked about the influence Johannson had in taking the organization in a positive direction. Chairman of the board Ron DeGregorio called him one of a kind.

It's clear the organization had a lot of respect for their executive.

Other figures from the sport expressed grief over Johannson's death on Sunday. Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Kim Pegula noted what kind of person he was. NHL players including Kyle Okposo and Justin Abdelkader tweeted their thoughts and condolences. The NHL released a statement on behalf of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman as well.

No funeral arrangements have been announced at this time. It's clear from the response of USA Hockey and the rest of the sport's community, however, that Jim Johannson will require a large celebration of his life.