MARQUETTE - The WCHA officially introduced former Minnesota Wild Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Bill Robertson as its next commissioner Tuesday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Robertson, 53, will take over from outgoing commissioner Bruce McLeod, who is retiring on June 30 after 20 years running the league.
Robertson will begin working for the league in the middle of May.
New WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson
"I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to help lead and guide the WCHA for many years to come," Robertson said in a statement. "It is truly an honor to serve this iconic sports and collegiate hockey conference, while showcasing some of the top student-athletes and institutions in the country."
Robertson was one of the Wild's first employees when he was hired in 1998, starting with the organization before it even played an NHL game. With the Wild and the franchise's parent company, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, Robertson was responsible for media and community relations, publications and broadcasting. He left the organization in the summer of 2011 and now works as a communications consultant in the Twin Cities.
"With the league and the changes and the new WCHA so to speak, I think it's a good time for a guy like Bill to come in an put his stamp on the WCHA," Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson said by phone.
"We have a few issues with our league, the playoffs being No. 1. I know we're set for the next couple of years, but to help grow our league championship, I think that's very important."
Prior to joining the Wild, Robertson was the director of communications for the expansion Walt Disney-owned Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just known as the Ducks) and later added the California Angels to his duties when Disney purchased the MLB team in 1996. Northern Michigan University head coach Walt Kyle was an assistant coach with the Ducks during Robertson's final two years with Disney from 1996-98.
"He is an incredibly intelligent guy that has a vast degree of experience working at a very high level in a big-time environment," Kyle said. "His experience is a major coup for our league and he will be a catalyst toward league growth and development."
Robertson, a native of St. Paul, Minn., who played baseball and soccer in high school, began his communications career with the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989. He has a degree from California State University-Fullerton in Speech Communication.
"We are thrilled to announce Bill Robertson as the next commissioner of the WCHA," said Dr. Richard Davenport in a statement. Davenport is president of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and led the search committee. "He has been a champion of collegiate hockey and a strong partner of the WCHA for many years. Bill is a proven leader and expert communicator with tremendous experience developing sports organizations and events across the country, including the WCHA Final Five. His knowledge of the organization, passion for the game, and respect for the collegiate experience make him a great choice to shepherd this new era for the WCHA."