Art Berglund, whose roles with USA Hockey as an administrator spanned parts of five decades, passed away Saturday morning at the age of 80.
Berglund, who was part of the staff of more than 30 U.S. teams, including six Olympic squads and eight national junior teams, had a widespread impact on the U.S. international hockey scene since 1973.
“Art’s passing is mourned not only by USA Hockey, but the entire hockey world,” said USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher in a statement. “His influence on both American hockey and the international game was profound and his charisma and passion will never be forgotten. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family, but especially his step-daughters Jossie and Cathy and his niece Linda.”
Berglund’s start in international hockey came soon after his graduation from Colorado College in 1963, where he was the leading scorer for the Tigers during his senior season. After playing professional hockey in Switzerland and Austria, Berglund was hired by the legendary William Thayer Tutt to work at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He went on to manage the Broadmoor World Arena for 13 years and, during that time, served as general manager for three U.S. Men’s National Teams (1973-75), including the 1973 squad that captured the silver medal and the 1974 squad that won the IIHF World Championship Pool B title.
After accepting his first Olympic assignment as general manager of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, Berglund went on to serve as general manager for eight U.S. National Junior Teams that competed in the IIHF World Junior Championship between 1977 and 1992 (1977, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992), including the 1986 squad that won the bronze medal.
Berglund served as the general manager for five more U.S. Men’s National Teams from 1985 to 1990. He was also the assistant general manager for the 1983 U.S. Men’s National Team that won the gold medal at the IIHF B Pool World Championship and for the 1981 and 1991 U.S. squads that competed at the Canada Cup.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Berglund served as an NHL scout for the St. Louis Blues and as director of player recruitment for the Colorado Rockies. In 1984, he joined USA Hockey’s national office staff as its director of national teams and international activities. After 11 years, Berglund was named senior director of international administration in 1996.
Berglund chaired the 1984 U.S. Olympic Player Selection Committee and managed his second U.S. Olympic Men’s Team in 1988. He was also director of player personnel for three U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Teams (1992, 1994, 2002), including the silver medal-winning squad at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
He retired from his full-time position on June 30, 2005, but continued with USA Hockey on a part-time basis as a consultant to the international department for the following decade.
In 1992, the NHL awarded Berglund its prestigious Lester Patrick Award for his outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in the United States. Eight years later, the American Hockey Coaches Association named Berglund the recipient of the Jim Fullerton Award, which annually recognizes an individual who demonstrates a love for the purity of the sport, and in 2005, USA Hockey presented him with its Builders Award for his lasting contributions to the long-term growth and success of USA Hockey.
Berglund, who grew up in Fort Frances, Ont., was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 and is also a member of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame (2004), the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame (2006), the Colorado Springs Hall of Fame (2008), the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame (2008) and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (2011).
“Today we lost a great friend and monumental force within the hockey community,” said USA Hockey president Jim Smith. “Art was truly a remarkable individual and we will forever cherish his contributions to our sport.”
“The hockey world was so lucky to have Art,” added Ron DeGregorio, chairman of the board of USA Hockey. “His kindness and strong character will always be remembered and our condolences go out to his entire family.