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Updated, Former executive of NHL's Wild named WCHA commissioner (4-8-14) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel Sports Staff   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 14:42
robertsonpresser
Mike Robertson is all smiles during the press conference announcing his hiring as the commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Assocaition. (Photo: Photo courtesy the Western Collegiate Hockey Association)
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Bill Robertson, the vice president of communications and broadcasting for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild from 1999-2011 was named the commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the league announced Tuesday.
Robertson takes over for Bruce McLeod, who is retiring at the end of the season.
Robertson, who is 53, will start in mid-May as McLeod assists with the transition.  McLeod’s last day is June 30 after 20 years in the position.
Robertson did not take any questions during the video streaming of the press conference. He did interviews after the press conference, but there was no conference call for those who couldn’t be in St. Paul.
“(Robertson) is a great leader who is well respected in the sports world,” Wild owner Craig Leopold said during a press conference at the Xcel Energy Center where the Wild play.
Robertson, who is from St. Paul, said he’d work to promote the WCHA and seek new revenue streams for the league.
The WCHA Final Five is another priority. It’ll be held in St. Paul next season after drawing just an announced crowd of of 11,162 for the three games over two days at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
But the attendance for the first semifinal between Bowling Green and Minnesota State appeared to be closer to 600, even though the listed attendance was 2,700.
The event returns to Grand Rapids in 2016 and St. Paul in 2017.
“Lots of hard work, dedication and staff to roll up our sleeves to get the job done,” Robertson said.
“This conference has a rich hockey tradition,” Robertson said, praising McLeod for his work as the commissioner.
Rumors of additional realignment in the sport, including schools presently in the WCHA, continue to swirl. College hockey went through a major realignment after last season that saw the end of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
As a result, Bowling Green moved from the CCHA to the WCHA.
Robertson told the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press he doesn’t believe realignment is done and hopes the WCHA can build on and be aggressive in that approach
Robertson was active in the Wild’s media and community relations, publications and broadcast efforts, and helped negotiate the team’s broadcast agreements.
The Wild were founded in 1997 and started play in 2001.
Although Robertson isn’t the former hockey coach or player some in the WCHA wanted for the position, he does have the business background that can help the league.
McLeod said Robertson has “street cred” in St. Paul and in hockey circles.
Prior to the Wild, Robertson directed communications for Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels, the NHL’s Mighty Ducks, the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the Target Center, which hosted several NCAA championships during his tenure.
The Target Center is the Timberwolves’ home.
He also twice served as the media relations liaison for both USA men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams (Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006).
Most recently, he consulted on sports and entertainment matters for Tunheim, one of the most respected strategic communications firms in the Midwest.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 07:16
 

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