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NHL chief operating officer John Collins leaving for another opportunity @NHL

NEW YORK, N.Y. - John Collins is resigning as the NHL's chief operating officer to pursue another business opportunity, the league said Tuesday.

Collins has served as COO since 2008 and been at the forefront of several ventures, including the league's U.S. and Canadian TV rights deals and the Winter Classic.

"John leaves a lasting mark," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our league. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavours."

Collins joined the NHL in 2007 after spending more than a decade in the NFL.

League revenues have ballooned to $4 billion in recent years, a growth that is largely attributed to Collins.

Collins thanked Bettman for his friendship and leadership over the past nine years.

"He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be," Collins said in a statement. "The NHL's future is filled with promise and potential, and I will admire and cheer the league's successes to come on the global stage."

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