Longtime Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna announced Monday he will step down at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
Bertagna, the longest-serving league commissioner in NCAA ice hockey history, began his current role in 1997. He is set to enter his 38th season in college hockey after a 15-year stint with the ECAC.
“I have not met an individual who has poured more of himself into his league or been more passionate to grow the sport for the benefit of so many constituent groups than Joe,” said ECAC commissioner Steve Hagwell.
Bertagna will remain in his current role as executive director of the American Hockey Coaches’ Association through at least the 2022-23 season — a position he has held since its creation in 1991.
“I have had a good run with Hockey East and am grateful for the opportunities the schools have provided me for more than two decades,” Bertagna said in a statement. “Adding my time with the ECAC to the Hockey East years, I will have contributed to 38 seasons of college hockey and am very proud of what has been accomplished on my watch.”
A native of Arlington, Bertagna played goaltender for Harvard from 1969-73 and has become a nationally recognized goaltending coach, serving for the Boston Bruins and the US Olympic men’s hockey team. He was inducted to the ECAC Hall of Fame in 2018.
In 2017, Bertagna was presented the Distinguished Service Award by USA Hockey and was inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame. In his time as Hockey East commissioner, Bertagna instituted several television deals, international tournaments, and outdoor events that saw the growth of college hockey in the region.
“This is not a retirement,” Bertagna said. “They say when one door closes, another door opens. I look forward to starting my final year with the conference and seeing what doors open up for me in the future.”