COLORADO SPRINGS -- The National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the new eight-school, Division I men's hockey conference that will start play in the 2013-14 season, on Wednesday named highly-respected, veteran sports executive Jim Scherr as its first commissioner.
Scherr, who has over 20 years in sports management leadership, including as the CEO of the United States Olympic Committee and executive director of USA Wrestling, was introduced by Brian Faison, University of North Dakota Athletic Director, at a news conference at Penrose House in Colorado Springs, the headquarters city of the conference.
"The selection of Jim Scherr as our first commissioner is the culmination of a thorough, national search to identify an exceptional sports business executive who will provide the leadership, vision and credibility to make our new conference the benchmark for excellence in collegiate hockey," Faison said.
"I am honored to have been selected by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to become its first commissioner," Scherr said. "I am grateful to the athletic directors and coaches of our conference's member institutions for their support, confidence and trust. We have just 21 months before we drop the puck to launch our first season and there's a lot to accomplish. This is a once-in-a-career opportunity and I look forward to leading a conference, including the eight outstanding hockey programs with their coaches, staffs, student-athletes and fans, that has the potential to become the premier single-sport conference in intercollegiate athletics."
The eight member institutions of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference are: Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University.
Scherr will immediately begin building a staff and working on several key organizational functions and projects, including hockey operations and competition, business development and marketing initiatives.
His career highlights include serving as CEO of the USOC from 2005 to 2009, overseeing 45 Olympic sports and directing the day-to-day operations of an organization dedicated to providing unparalleled service and support to America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Scherr was also interim CEO of the USOC from 2003 to 2005, Chief of Sport Performance for the USOC from 2000-2003, executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990 to 2000, and founder and CEO of 776 Original Marketing in Colorado Springs, a company he started in 2009 to provide marketing and public relations services.
Scherr has been inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Nebraska Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was NCAA Division I wrestling champion for the University of Nebraska (1984), USA Wrestling Man of the Year (1994) and a member of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team in 1986, 1988 and 1989.
He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a BS degree in Business Administration in 1985 and earned an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1989.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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