April 30, 2012 PRINT Bookmark and Share

College Hockey Inc. to Get New Governing Body

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

College Hockey Inc. will have a new governance structure, but there will not be an overhaul of the direction of the organization.

According to sources, College Hockey Inc., the marketing arm of the sport that was installed two years ago, will no longer be governed solely by the conference commissioners. Instead, the commissioners will relinquish some authority to create a new governing board, comprised by a combination of commissioners, coaches and athletic directors.

The exact makeup of the board is still being haggled over. In one incarnation, it would involve the commissioners, three coaches and three athletic directors, comprising the six conferences that will be playing as of 2013-14. In another, it will be one commissioner and six athletic directors. And there are various combinations in between.

The governing board will have the power to make decisions on hiring and firing, and affect decisions on the direction of the organization.

To help get USA Hockey's blessing on the changes, the governing board may also include a non-voting member from USA Hockey. Ultimately, the operation is guided by USA Hockey, since that's where the funding comes from, in the form of a grant.

The change comes in the aftermath of the commissioners' decision to force Executive Director Paul Kelly to resign in February, a move that outraged a portion of coaches, especially the eight or nine that have been working closely with Kelly on some issues. Those coaches believed Kelly was making inroads into many issues, particularly with the NHL, and upset that the commissioners were circumspect over their reasoning for the move, and did it without consulting coaches or ADs.

Though never articulated publicly, CHN learned that Kelly was forced out for what the commissioners believed was insubordination, including meeting with athletic directors in an attempt — he says, at the behest of coaches — to consolidate sport-wide authority with College Hockey Inc. The last straw came when the commissioners learned of these meetings because of an e-mail written by Kelly that was mistakenly distributed to them by an athletic director.

At the coaches convention last week in Naples, Fla., a number of discussions were held, including a meeting between somes coaches and the commissioners. The meetings, though contentious at times, were ultimately labeled productive, with all parties ready to move on from their differences and create a solid, transparent structure going forward.

After his departure from College Hockey Inc., Kelly suggested that there was a need for a central office that oversaw college hockey, one that could work on deals for everyone — including television, scheduling, discipline and rules.

Such a concept got little support in Naples, however, and is widely considered to be unrealistic.

College Hockey Inc. will remain, functionally, as it is today — as a marketing arm of college hockey.

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