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Anastos in the NHL?

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Long-time hockey writer Kevin Allen endorsed CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos as a possible replacement for the recently and wrongly fired Paul Kelly as head of the NHL Player's Association. It's definitely worth a read.

I strongly agree with everything Allen wrote, though it comes at a very interesting point in Anastos' career as CCHA commissioner. The CCHA's decision on Alabama-Huntsville, and ultimately, UAH's future in Division I college hockey, will probably go down as one of the defining moments of Anastos' career as CCHA head.

The same was true this past summer for WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod who is--choosing my words carefully--not always held in the same regard as Anastos. Recognizing that Bemidji State losing their program would be a step backwards for college hockey, the members of the WCHA made it clear that the commissioner needed to find a way to make Bemidji fit into the WCHA. To his credit, McLeod did just that, by getting Nebraska-Omaha to join the WCHA.

Now Anastos is the one that finds himself on the hot seat. If the CCHA can't find a way to get UAH into their conference, and UAH has to fold, it's a huge step backwards for college hockey to lose another program; perhaps one that should mean a move back to a 12-team NCAA tournament. There are definitely minor details standing in the way, but in the bigger picture, the CCHA has room for another team, and UAH has a strong program that draws better than nearly half of the CCHA, and plays in a nicer building that much of the CCHA. Ultimately, it should be the commissioner's job to work through those minor details standing in the way and find a way to make this work.

The good news is all of those things Allen cited in his piece. Anastos is an excellent commissioner with a solid vision of the future, and you have to believe that even if he moves on to bigger things some day, he won't do so with this black mark on his record.