SBJ/April 21-27, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Former Wild exec takes commissioner post

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association recently named former Minnesota Wild executive Bill Robertson its next men’s hockey commissioner.

ROBERTSON
Robertson, 53, was one of the Wild’s first employees when he started there in 1998. He served as the club’s vice president of communications and broadcasting for 11 years before leaving the team in July 2011. He previously held communications roles for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Anaheim Ducks.

He’s been working at Bloomington, Minn.-based public relations firm Tunheim Partners, where he has worked with clients such as Minnesota United FC and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“[The WCHA] has a great history and rich tradition, and I hope to enhance that. … There’s still an education process with all of this realignment [in college hockey],” Robertson said. “We have to do a really good job of making sure people know who’s in the WCHA conference on the men’s side.”

The WCHA, a Division I conference, comprises Alabama Huntsville, Alaska, Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan on the men’s side. The University of Minnesota was formerly a member of the conference, but it split off this past season to join the Big Ten’s new hockey conference.

Robertson said he is planning to heighten the WCHA’s profile by increasing its media platforms and sponsorship revenue, and by making “the conference tournament a destination for college hockey fans again.”

Additionally, he will explore options regarding the future location of the WCHA offices. The conference now has its main office in Denver but has about a half-dozen people spread across multiple cities.

Robertson said he might move the conference’s offices from Denver to Minnesota.

“We want to make sure we’re doing what’s best to serve the conference’s needs, and part of that is the idea of putting it in a major media market,” said Robertson, a St. Paul native. “The Twin Cities is an ideal location for that.”

As commissioner, Robertson replaces Bruce McLeod, who is retiring after 20 years at the helm of the WCHA.

Robertson’s first day will be May 1.

John Vomhof Jr. writes for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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