Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bill Robertson named WCHA commissioner

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn, WCHA
Bill Robertson was named WCHA commissioner on Tuesday during an event held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (That's a pic of me interviewing him.) He will begin his duties in mid-May, and there will be some overlap with current commissioner Bruce McLeod, who will retire on June 30.

"It’s got a rich tradition, and the conference has done so many great things over the years," Robertson said. "It’s got a great foundation. I just want to build on that and make it as good a conference as I possibly can. I’m looking forward to the challenge, that’s for sure."

There's definitely a challenge, given the reshaped WCHA. Promotion and sponsorship of the league and the Final Five, which will return to the X next March, were big themes during the event.

"The business of college is changing, with the conference realignments, promotion of the game, television, the digital content that goes on and all the revenue streams that are possibilities for the future," Robertson said. "I will do my best as commissioner of the WCHA to stay on top of these trends in college hockey and use my vast relationships to help continue to build this conference over the years."

Robertson addressed realignment, saying that he doesn't believe that it's done and that he doesn't want his league sitting on the sidelines if and when that happens.

"I don’t think we’re done with changes in college hockey as far as alignment’s concerned so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on that as I go forward," he said. "I think we’re going to build on it; we’re going to be aggressive in that approach as I set forward on that task of trying to understand where these teams are at. But I think it’s a great conference. All these teams are passionate about wanting to stay in the WCHA from what I’ve talked to them. So I’m hoping we’re going to push that forward."

Minnesota State was well-represented at the event. President Richard Davenport spoke as the head of the league’s search committee, and Vice President of University Advancement emceed the event. Athletic director Kevin Buisman and hockey coach Mike Hastings attended as well.

“He’ll provide an injection of energy the league needs right now,” Buisman said.

Said Hastings: "Mutual friends who have worked with and around him, they speak very highly of him. I look forward to get to know him and work with him."

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