Hockey East today announced the league’s new commissioner, who will take over this spring and replace the retiring Joe Bertagna.
Steve Metcalf is the current Deputy Athletics Director at the University of New Hampshire and has been with the Wildcats for over 20 years. According to the release, he’s been deeply involved with both hockey the men’s and women’s hockey programs, overseeing all internal operations.
There’s next to nothing we can gather about what this hire will mean, but there are a few positives to take away from it. First, the fact that the league hired an experienced administrator from a hockey-first school is a good sign, and he’s been around long enough that he was there during UNH’s glory days (or whatever would pass for their glory days, anyway). He also has both a men’s and women’s hockey background from being with the Wildcats, so that’s certainly good news for the women’s half of the league.
The most important aspect of Metcalf’s job going forward will be to continue to improve the league’s TV and streaming packages. This year marked a big leap forward with an affordable league-wide streaming package for the very first time, and Hockey East’s partnership with NESN was dramatically expanded with dozens of games on HDTV for both the men’s and women’s teams. Hopefully he can continue to move the league in the right direction on that front.
And finally, who knows if this hire will make the UMass-Lowell’s of the world who wanted to ditch the Hockey East brand and move into a small-time all-sports conference happy, but if not, they’ll just need to get over it.