With seven teams leaving for the CCHA to begin play in the 2021-22 season and another leaving the sport, the future of the WCHA men’s league is in doubt, but its commissioner remains involved with hockey.
Bill Robertson, who has served as WCHA commissioner since 2014, was named president and commissioner of the Hockey League of the United States on Friday. He replaces Tom Garrity, who has served in that role since November 2017. Robertson will finish his career at the WCHA on June 30 and start with the USHL on July 12.
I am excited to join the USHL, said Robertson. It’s the top Tier I league in youth hockey and I think I can add some value to the league. I look forward to this new challenge.
Robertson, 60, has been a long-time sports executive, serving as communications director for The Wild from 1998 to 2011, the Timberwolves from 1989 to 1993, and The Walt Disney Company, the communications leader for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Anaheim Angels (1993-98).
The USHL position allows Robertson, a native of St. Paul, to stay involved in hockey and remain in the Twin Cities. What drew me to this is in all my years in the WCHA, I kept looking at the charts and I saw all the players coming from the USHL to the WCHA and other leagues, he said. The feeding program is fantastic.
Garrity became an interim USHL commissioner and believes the league will be in good shape with Robertson.
I have known and worked with Bill for 20 years and I am confident to say that the USHL is in good hands with Bill taking over, Garrity said in a statement. We had many great candidates for the position, but we believe Bill’s experience in the sport will help continue to grow the league’s pedigree as one of the best youth hockey leagues in the world.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the USHL played a 54-game regular season with 14 teams instead of 16 in 2020-21, and Robertson wants to make sure all teams are back on solid footing.
The goal is for all franchises to be complete, he said. We want to make sure that all franchises are doing the right thing to promote their markets and get them going.
Robertson credited his staff with the WCHA
I wouldn’t have been in this position to join the USHL unless I had the more than seven years of experience with the WCHA, which in my mind was a great league and had so many great people, Robertson said. I will miss the great staff that I worked with.