MARQUETTE?- Incoming Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner Bill Robertson takes the helm on the heels of one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the college game, at least in the west.
Establishing a new niche for the WCHA?after changing all but three of its members over the last five years and taking advantage of emerging platforms to publicize the league are among the challenges he discusses in part two of this conversation:
Q: How do you plan to increase the exposure of the WCHA?
A: One of the things I'll be looking at is the potential to do television and then I'm also looking to enhance the streaming video and content on the website and helping sell some of that as well. I'm hopeful that those are the kinds of opportunities that can help drive more exposure to this conference. I will be looking right away at that, not just for the conference tournament, but potentially a game of the week type package as well.
Q: Did you have a chance to view the league's online streaming coverage this year? It was really popular with fans and according to Bruce (McLeod, the outgoing commissioner), it brought in a decent amount of revenue for the league as well.
A: Yeah. I talked to Bruce about it and I have seen it. It did really well. I think it's just a start for the league, though. It could become much bigger than it currently is and I want to look at that piece a little further before making recommendations and suggestions. I think it's a great foundation in place and I know it's gotten great accolades to date from the fans and family members watching these games. I think there's a lot more we can do with that.
Q: How do you keep an ear to the ground on what could be more changes in college hockey with conference realignment? It sounds like it may not be done according to the rumor mills.
A: I'll be tuned in those types of rumors as well, but I will be talking with College Hockey Inc., I'll be taking to the other college hockey commissioners, I'll be taking to schools and coaches to try and keep a pulse on all of what's going on as far as additional alignment in college hockey. I don't think we're done yet with that, but I don't know what that means yet until I get deeper into the job. I want to stay real close to that and see what we can do to help keep the WCHA moving forward and potential for more teams to ever want to join this conference.
Q: Do you feel there is room and potential for the league to expand?
A: I do. I don't have my hand to say today that I have the answers for that, but I have some ideas that I will probably share in time and try to get a feel though. I want to be a good listener first and foremost in the world of college hockey. I'm going to try and do my best to listen to a lot of people and get their ideas and see where they think things are going. That's how I'm going to start formulating a lot of my thoughts and process on how to move forward with the tough of more realignment with college hockey.
Q: There's a lot of issues, from travel to scheduling, that I'm sure a lot of people are going to come to you with in this first year. How do you prioritize and how do you handle the issues that face the league? How do you not get too overburdened in this first year as commissioner?
A: Well that's part of leaning on the staff that's in place too that have been there and have done this before. I'm going to ask for their advice as well and certainly I don't have all the answers yet. I want to listen and certainly travel. Those type of things, scheduling, are going to be issues that face all the schools in the conference and we're going to try and do our best to put the best possible schedule together.