March 1, 2012

Paul Kelly explains why he left College Hockey, Inc.

By Stan Fischler

 Insiders on the University hockey front tell us that a power struggle is ongoing between influential NCAA D-I college coaches (Jack Parker, Red Berenson, Jeff Jackson, George Gwozdecky, Dave Hakstol, Rico Blasi, etc.) and the Commissioners of the five conferences. 

A recent radio interview on 590 Fan with former College Hockey, Inc. head, Paul Kelly (Newton Highlands, Mass.), is sure to cause a stir within college hockey because of Kelly’s candid comments.

Kelly left College Hockey, Inc. for a good reason.

Here’s what Paul told Damien Cox of the Toronto Star and Bob McCown.

Among other points made by Kelly were the following:

* DIFFERING VIEWS:

Division-I coaches have a different vision of what college hockey ought to be than the administrators.

Coaches believe there’s a need for an independent national body that can oversee certain things in the sport, such as marketing, tv contracts and the championships.”

Because the mission of College Hockey Inc. is educating young players and families about the benefits of playing college hockey, it should be overseen by coaches.

That view isn’t necessarily shared by the people currently running the entity.

* KELLY’S POSITION:

I sympathized with the coaches, who felt there was that potential to make the entity (College Hockey, Inc.) more successful than it already was.

Obviously, the administrators didn't want to hear that. So, it was felt by them that there should be a change of course.

I believe whole-heartedly in the mission and message.

I would tell any young kid -- the opportunity to get an education and play college hockey is a great opportunity.

* AGREE WITH NCAA:

College Hockey, Inc. had a very good working relationship with the NCAA. There was really no conflict between us.

We were never a governing body. We were limited in what we could do -- from both a financial perspective as well as an authority perspective.

The coaches wanted to take away those limits and look after the advancement of the sport.

* KELLY’S SUGGESTION – A USHL-CHL MERGER:

I would like to see a merger of the USHL into the CHL. This way, for those in Major-Junior hockey who are academically-inclined.

We'd open the door for them to  play NCAA hockey, and we'd remove some of this cross-border tension that seems to exist. It could work and be beneficial for all of hockey.

This interview originally appeared in The Fischler Report.