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Volume 21 No. 48
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NHL’s Frank Brown plans to retire

Frank Brown, longtime NHL communications executive and liaison for Commissioner Gary Bettman, is retiring from the league.

Brown, currently NHL group vice president of content integration, joined the league in 1998 after nearly three decades in print journalism. He most notably spent more than 17 years at the New York Daily News, where he served as the New York Rangers beat reporter and as the hockey columnist. Brown said his first hockey article was written for the New York Rangers’ game program in 1970, for which he was paid $50 by John Halligan, the team’s longtime public relations director.

In recent years, Brown has become a close confidant to Bettman, sitting in during his interviews, helping to craft the league’s messaging and commonly seen tailing the commissioner during press briefings at league events. During his annual state of the league address before Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final last month, Bettman poked fun at Brown’s retirement, noting their ages — Brown, 65, and Bettman, newly 66 — “Since we’re the same age roughly, I don’t understand what he’s doing,” Bettman said, as Brown stood nearby. Brown said he had discussed his career decision in recent conversations with Bettman, adding that the commissioner “was extremely gracious, as he always has been to me.”

Brown said he has no immediate plans for the next step in his career, saying that “it’s an opportunity to reset my dials a little bit.” He noted that after nearly 50 years in hockey, he’s looking forward to “finally being an attentive husband and a doting grandfather.”

“I’m lucky enough to have good enough health and good energy, so I’m excited for what may lie ahead,” Brown said. “When you have the privilege of doing any of these jobs, whether you’re a beat writer or columnist or work in communications, you’re never off duty and there is intense pressure to stay ahead of the 24-hour news cycle. It’s time for some real-life equilibrium, and a life without Twitter — but a lot more tee-ball.”

Brown’s last day at the NHL will be June 30.