College Hockey Inc., finally named a new director Tuesday — more than two months after the position closed and more than six months after commissioners ousted Paul Kelly from the head spot of the organization.
The new director is Mike Snee, who most recently worked for Minnesota Hockey. Prior to that, Snee had a position with the Minnesota Wild. Snee will be based in the Twin Cities and start on the job on Sept. 17.
As the NHL and NHLPA hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement that will ultimately impact college hockey — the last one certainly did — it’s hard not to think of the major opportunity college hockey lost.
Instead of having a direct line to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s cell phone and the former NHLPA head speaking on its behalf during the negotiations (Paul Kelly), college hockey’s commissioners instead decided to spend that time without a director and searching at length for a new one.
The commissioners ousted Kelly in February, much to the displeasure of many coaches around the country. It was a move that met enough resistance that College Hockey Inc., altered the way it is run after its April convention.
After that, the job was opened to applications. It closed on June 22. Interviews started a couple of weeks later and that process finally came to an end Tuesday. When Snee starts in a few weeks, he’s not going to jump into the CBA negotiations.
Kelly had connections to give college hockey an unprecedented voice in NHL labor talks on issues that may impact its sport. And it’s something he could have been working on since the spring, knowing that the CBA was set to expire this fall.
Time will tell what changes in the CBA will impact college hockey and how it will impact college hockey. But college hockey won’t have as much of a say in it as it could have.