Metcalf Tabbed as Next Hockey East Commissioner
Steve Metcalf, the current chair of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and assistant athetlic director at New Hampshire, has been named the fifth commissioner of the Hockey East Association.
Metcalf, who has held his role at UNH the last 10 years, will replace Joe Bertagna, whose tenure ends with his 23rd season this spring.
“Simply put, Steve is a connector whose knowledge of hockey and our league is outstanding,” said Drew Marrochello, current chair of the Hockey East men’s executive committee and director of athletics at Boston University. “He has made strong impressions in several different circles during his time at UNH, and it was a true consensus decision to bring him on as our next commissioner.
“We will all benefit from his wealth of experience in Hockey East as his strengths work well with our external populations, helping to illuminate our great product along with our community of coaches and administrators.”
In finding a new commissioner, and moving away from Bertagna, the consensus from athletic directors has been a need to find someone with a more buttoned up business and marketing approach; someone who could bring new ideas on those fronts, while also having a hockey background.
“We would like to find someone who has Joe Bertagna’s respect for the game and Joe’s understanding of its nuances but who can also push us forward in the areas of market development, fan engagement, social media, revenue enhancement, and general brand marketing,” Maine athletic director Ken Ralph told CHN recently. “We have a wonderful platform and we want to leverage the resources available to provide the best quality of experience for our players and fans.”
Metcalf fit the bill with his work at New Hampshire. In recent years, he spent a significant amount of time working on various capital projects totaling over $50 million, including construction of Wildcat Stadium. He also oversaw event management and all UNH-hosted conference and NCAA championships. UNH served as the host for three NCAA Women’s Frozen Fours and eight NCAA men’s ice hockey regional championships during his tenure.
“I would like to thank the search committee for giving me this incredible opportunity to lead such a prestigious conference,” said Metcalf. “I couldn’t be more excited to get started and build on relationships throughout the great institutions that make up Hockey East. I would also like to acknowledge Joe Bertagna for his leadership over the past 23 years, leading this conference to where we are today. He has contributed so much to the game of college hockey.”
Said Bertagna, “I have known Steve for nearly two decades and have always enjoyed working with him. He knows both the conference and the NCAA, and he will do a good job for the member institutions and the game of college hockey.”
At the conference and national level, Metcalf has served as chair for five significant committees, including those for NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey, women’s ice hockey and national collegiate skiing. He recently completed his second two-year term as chair of the America East Championships and Competition Committee, of which he has been a member since 2000. From 2006-08, Metcalf was the chair of the Women’s Hockey East Association Executive Committee.
Metcalf has also collaborated with NCAA staff to attract championship events to both UNH and to other locations in the New England region, including the 2015 and 2022 Frozen Four tournaments to Boston.
“Hockey East will continue to grow and advance with Steve Metcalf as its new commissioner,” said Kristin Fasbender, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances. “He has the unique experience of being the chair of both the men’s and women’s NCAA ice hockey committees, and his tireless contributions throughout the sport have been noticed by many. I’ve had the great opportunity of working with Steve throughout my 20 years in NCAA hockey and I look forward to continue working with him in this role.”
New Hampshire’s chief athletic director, Marty Scarano, was also a chair of the Ice Hockey Committee at one time. He said Metcalf, “is one of the most conscientious, hard-working, and committed professionals I have ever been associated with. UNH has benefited greatly over the years he has been a part of our leadership team and we will miss him.”
Massachusetts-Lowell coach Norm Bazin added, “Steve showed a great deal of detail in his pursuit of this position. His preparation and experiences at all levels of college hockey will continue to help him as he guides Hockey East going forward.”