Hockey East Extends Bertagna's Deal
CHN Staff Report
WAKEFIELD, Mass. Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna has been given a contract extension through the 2013-14 season.
Bertagna, who is already the longest serving commissioner in the conference’s 28-year history, is beginning his 15th year with Hockey East after serving in a similar capacity with the ECAC for 15 years. That makes him the longest current tenured conference administrator in college hockey.
“I am very pleased that the directors have seen fit to extend my service for three more seasons,” said Bertagna. “I will take this as an endorsement of what our entire staff has been doing to advance the interests of not only Hockey East but college hockey as a sport.”
Bertagna first played as a freshman goalie at Harvard in 1969. After spending 15 years as the primary ice hockey administrator for the ECAC, Bertagna became Hockey East’s fourth commissioner on
July 1, 1997. A native of Arlington, Mass., Bertagna began working at the ECAC in 1982, when he was named Tournament Director. He was later named Executive Director of Ice Hockey and then became Ice Hockey Commissioner in 1991.
Bertagna made his mark immediately at Hockey East, engineering a multi-year television deal (SportsChannel New England) in his first month on the job. Shortly thereafter, league tournament attendance rocketed forward, leading to the event’s first-ever sellout in 2000. Bertagna was also instrumental in bringing about the formation of the Hockey East Women’s League, just as he initiated league play for both Division I and Division III women’s programs while with the ECAC.
In January of 2010, Bertagna and his staff administered the first outdoor college hockey game in the East when Boston’s fabled Fenway Park hosted a Hockey East doubleheader. The event, which sold out on the first day of public sale in September of 2009, was an unprecedented success for the conference, both financially and in terms of exposure. The game was carried live on both NESN and the NHL Network.
Nationally, Bertagna has served as the Executive Director of the American Hockey Coaches Association since 1991, the only person to serve in that capacity. In that role, he has overseen the growth of AHCA membership from fewer than 300 members in 1992 to over 1,400 members today. He also served a four-year term on the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee, the final two years as chairman. He also serves on the Board of Directors of USA Hockey and the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation.
Some of his biggest contributions have come in his continuing role with the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA). In recent years, Bertagna was instrumental in securing funds for the formation of College Hockey, Inc., the marketing arm of the HCA, which was established in 2009.
Beyond his college hockey accomplishments, Bertagna has forged an international reputation as a student and coach of goaltending. As a player, Bertagna led the Ivy League with a 2.45 GAA in 1972. After Harvard, he played professionally for the Milwaukee Admirals and in Cortina, Italy. He led his S.G. Cortina d’Ampezzo squad to the 1975 Italian Championship. He began his professional coaching career in 1985 with the Boston Bruins, staying with the Bruins as the goaltender coach until 1991 and rejoining the team for the 1994-95 season. He also has coached with Team USA (1991 Canada Cup and 1994 Winter Olympics) and with the
Milwaukee Admirals (1994-96). Bertagna has operated his own goalie clinics since 1973, and in that time, has coached thousands of goalies of all ages throughout New England.
Bertagna enjoyed a brief college coaching career at Harvard in the late 1970’s, serving as Men’s Junior Varsity Coach in 1976-77 and launching Harvard’s women’s ice hockey program in 1977-78. He served as head coach of Harvard Women’s Hockey for two seasons.