The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is expected to name its first commissioner in January, but it will not be Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi, who declined the new league’s offer to be interviewed for the job.
Maturi, 66, a Chisholm native, said Wednesday he was flattered to be considered, but that the timing wasn’t right. His contract with Minnesota ends June 30, 2012, and he’s still deciding on what is next in his future after 10 years with the Gophers. He had previously worked as AD at Denver and Miami of Ohio, and assistant AD at Wisconsin, and has been involved with the hockey programs at each school.
So who has been identified as a leading candidate as commissioner for a league that opens 2013-14 and will be based in Colorado Springs, Colo.?
No one is saying right now. Bobby Goldwater, president of the marketing firm The Goldwater Group based in Bethesda, Md., and in conjunction with Stafford Sports of Medford, N.J., has been charged with seeking candidates for the position. Initial interviews were held the last week in October in the Twin Cities.
“We are pleased with where we are and with the progress of the search, and the quality of the candidates,” Goldwater said Thursday. “Our goal was to have a commissioner hired by the end of December, but it wasn’t a deadline.
“A contract has not been signed and final details have not been worked out, but we hope to have the process concluded quickly.”
The hiring decision, said Goldwater, will be made through consensus voting of the eight athletic directors in the new league from Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan.
It was speculated here last month that Jim Scherr, 50, of Colorado Springs, Colo., CEO of a marketing firm and former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, was among the finalists for the job, and is still believed to be the front-runner.
Others who did interview for the job included former Minnesota Wild vice president in charge of communications Bill Robertson and former NHL general manager Craig Patrick, but are believed to no longer be in the running.
There was talk that Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph would take the commissioner job on an interim basis until a permanent hire could be made, but Goldwater said that is not the case.
It’s expected the NCHC will make a commissioner announcement when it can get the most media exposure. It’s possible it would follow the opening of the NFL playoffs Jan. 7 and college’s BCS Championship football game Jan. 9.
The NCHC was officially formed in July.