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May 17, 2004 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Seize the Momentum

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

First, everyone looked at each other and made sure what they thought they heard was true.

Steve Hagwell is being made ECAC commissioner? Haven't we heard this before? Wasn't he named associate commissioner in 2000 with the intention of giving him the authority to make the necessary decisions that commissioner Phil Buttafuoco, either because of neglect or lack of time, didn't? And didn't we already have to live through the realization that this amounted to nothing more than cosmetic change, with Hagwell being given zero authority as the neglect continued?

But this was different, we were told. In this case, the ECAC athletic directors finally were fed up. It might have taken a little while longer than we hoped, but they got together and decided enough was enough. They went to the ECAC Board of Directors and said, unless you give D-I hockey its complete independence, we are leaving the league. Goodbye.

So, you mean that Phil Buttafuoco has nothing to do with ECAC Hockey anymore? You mean Steve Hagwell has the same independent hockey-only authority that Joe Bertagna, Bruce McLeod, Tom Anastos, et al has? Are we hearing this correctly?

Yes.

You mean what we've been practically begging ADs to do since 1997 has finally come to fruition — leaving the league? Well, yeah, sorta, except that there is still some relationship with the league, in its use of the name and the league office in Centerville, but even that can change in a heartbeat if need be. Centerville can cooperate with hockey or be gone entirely. Hockey is not beholden to Centerville.

Wow.

So the joy spread across ECAC land, from coaches to fans, to anyone else who has ever remotely been connected or associated with this exalted conference. Kudos to all the athletic directors who studiously assessed the situation, came to a rational conclusion, got their ducks in a row, and charted a brave new course for the ECAC.

And then, just because we're always a little careful, we sat back and let the cautious part of our cautious optimism have its time to speak. And then we came up with this list:

Top 10 Suggestions For the New and Improved ECAC

There's a lot of optimism now. It's time to seize on it, and make the ECAC truly the best it can be — a great conference with great tradition, guarding the confluence of athletics and academics better than any sports league in the NCAA.

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