Art Berglund, who received the NHL’s Lester Patrick Award in 1992 for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, died Saturday. He was 80.
Berglund, who worked in the NHL in the 1970s and ’80s as a U.S. scout for the St. Louis Blues and director of player recruitment for the Colorado Rockies, served as a USA Hockey administrator for portions of five decades and managed or served on the administrative staff of more than 30 teams in a variety of tournaments worldwide. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Art Berglund, one of the true builders of the game in the U.S. for more than 40 years,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “So many NHL players have had the opportunity to star on the world hockey stage playing for their country because of the passion, dedication and commitment that Art brought to USA Hockey. We owe him a large debt of gratitude for his countless contributions to the growth and development of the game at all levels. The game has lost a dear friend.”
Berglund served as USA Hockey’s director of national teams and international activities for 11 years before being named senior director of international administration in 1996.
After playing professional hockey briefly in Switzerland and Austria, Berglund was hired to work at Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He managed the facility for 13 years, during which time he served USA Hockey in a variety of capacities, managing the 1973, ’74 and ’75 national teams before accepting his first Olympic assignment in 1976 as general manager.
In 1977, Berglund was named general manager of the first United States National Junior Team, a position he held eight times. He chaired the 1984 United States Olympic Player Selection Committee and managed its men’s team a second time in 1988. He was director of player personnel for three United States Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Teams (1992, 1994, 2002), including the silver medal-winning 2002 U.S. Olympic Team in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Today we lost a great friend and monumental force within the hockey community,” said president of USA Hockey Jim Smith. “Art was truly a remarkable individual and we will forever cherish his contributions to our sport.”
Berglund was named director of national teams and international activities for USA Hockey in 1984 and, after 11 years, worked as senior director of international administration in 1996. He received the American Hockey Coaches Association’s Jim Fullerton Award in 2000, which recognizes an individual demonstrating a love for the purity of the sport.
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 next decade.
Berglund, who grew up in Fort Frances, Ontario, is 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).
“Art’s passing is mourned not only by USA Hockey, but the entire hockey world,” said executive director of USA Hockey Pat Kelleher. “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.”
NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report