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Meet the Commissioners

12/02/2015, 1:30pm CST
By Aaron Paitich

Minnesota natives are calling the shots for two of college hockey's major conferences.

>> Minnesota doesn't just produce the most college hockey players in the U.S. We also develop many of the sport's business leaders. Both Josh Fenton and Bill Robertson are hometown boys serving their third seasons as commissioners of their respective conferences.

Josh Fenton, NCHC

Youth Hockey: Litchfield-Dassel-Cokato Youth Hockey Association; three years of high school hockey for LDC.

College and Degree: Iowa State University, Undergraduate Degree in Finance in 2002; Miami University (OH), Graduate Degree in Sport Studies in 2005.

Work Experience: 1 year at Accenture, a world-wide consulting firm; 11 years at Miami University (OH), Volunteer Hockey Coach, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations, Assistant Athletic Director for Administration, Associate Athletic Director for External Relations, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration.

One Way to Improve College Hockey: Grow the number of institutions sponsoring Division-I hockey.

The Toughest Part of My Job: I have some of my most challenging days when we need to review a case for possible supplemental discipline and then ultimately suspending the player. We want to do what’s right for player safety and the integrity of the game but going through the process and making a decision can be very difficult.

Favorite Hockey Memories: Attending two Frozen Fours with Miami and being a part of a National Championship game; participating in the boys’ state high school hockey tournament.

In Five Words or Less, Minnesota Hockey Culture Is: Best Community-Based Model in the U.S. (Editor’s note: that’s seven words but we’ll let it slide).

Bill Robertson, WCHA

Hometown: Saint Paul’s Highland Park.

Youth Hockey: Rec hockey in Highland Park. Competed in many sports growing up, including baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and others.

College and Degree: California State University, Fullerton; graduated in 1983 with a B.A. in Business and Organizational Communication. 

Work Experience: Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Director of Communications and Publications; Disney Sports Enterprises, Director of Communications, Community Relations and Publications, (Mighty Ducks); Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting, (Minnesota Wild); USOC and USA Hockey Communications Liaison for men’s and women’s ice hockey during the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics; Tunheim Partners, Consultant.

One Way to Improve College Hockey: Shorten the entire men’s college hockey season, but allow all institutions to play games during the holiday breaks. With the length of the season—not the number of games, but months—we run the risk of appearing lost at times with all the other sporting activities that college hockey is competing against for fan, sponsor and media interest. 

The Toughest Part of My Job: Making decisions on most every facet of our changing and growing business, while balancing the needs of many different stakeholders. 

Favorite Hockey Memories: Becoming WCHA Commissioner with my father, Norb, in attendance. He passed away in May of 2015 at the age of 95, but was present for the press conference on April 8, 2014. Also the Minnesota Wild-Mighty Ducks playoff series in 2003 as I had worked for both teams and working with the late and legendary head coach Herb Brooks at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

In Five Words or Less, Minnesota Hockey Culture Is: Center of the Sport's Universe.

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