The WCHA announced former Minnesota Wild executive Bill Robertson as the conference's new commissioner at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the XCel Energy Center. He replaces outgoing commissioner Bruce McLeod, who was head of the league for the past 20 years.
Robertson inherits a tough situation left to him by his predecessor. Once college hockey's most powerful conference, realignment left the WCHA a shell of what it once was, with a collection of geographically disparate schools banded together by a shared lack of other options.
Keeping the league together and viable for the future will be no easy task. Let's take a closer look at the man charged with doing so.
The good news about Robertson is that he comes to the WCHA with an incredibly strong background in public relations, something that was sorely, sorely lacking in the WCHA for many years.
The most recent credit to Robertson's name is as Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting for the Minnesota Wild. Robertson was one of the very first employees hired by the Wild when the expansion franchise was first announced. He handled media and community relations, among other duties, and played a large role in running the very successful 2011 NHL Entry Draft at the XCel Energy Center.
Prior to working for the Wild, he was Director of Communications for the Anaheim Ducks and Anaheim Angels, and also held a similar role for the Minnesota Timberwolves when the franchise was in its' infancy. He also worked as a media liaison for the US men's and women's Olympic hockey teams at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Herb Brooks Foundation.
Robertson isn't just a guy that's been around in public and media relations for a long time. He's a guy that has picked up numerous awards for his work, and is extremely well-respected in the field.
Running a hockey league is more than just being good at public relations, but the WCHA is a league that desperately needs to build a fanbase and grow their brand to be successful in the future, and making their league more accessible to fans should go a long way in helping that.