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COLLEGE HOCKEY: WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod to retire at end of 2013-14 season

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MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Friday that longtime commissioner Bruce McLeod will retire at the end of the 2013-14 season. His contract expires June 30.

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"It has been my distinct honor to serve this wonderful organization as commissioner for the past 20 years and to be associated with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for 49 years – since 1965," said McLeod said in a statement. "The opportunity to get to know and to work alongside so many outstanding coaches and administrators, to become acquainted with so many marvelous student-athletes, and watch our sport grow and prosper has been a blessing. I will forever be a fan."

The 62-year-old is in his 20th year as the league’s commissioner and has overseen some major changes in his tenure.

Bruce McLeod

In his final years the league saw some turmoil, including the departure of two teams to the Big Ten and six others to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference but added six new teams.

However, McLeod oversaw an era in the league that saw eight WCHA national champions and 10 Hobey Baker Awards.

He was also instrumental in helping Bemidji State get admitted into the league in 2010.

"Bruce McLeod has been a steady presence in the world of college hockey, helping shape one of the most prestigious college hockey conferences in the nation,” BSU head coach Tom Serratorte said in a statement. “His commitment to the game, its players, fans and institution members is evident in the great successes of the WCHA and its tremendous fan following. His vision and integrity will be greatly missed."

McLeod, a native of Fort Frances, Ontario, played at Minnesota-Duluth in the 1960s and remained affiliated with league schools in various capacities, including as UMD athletic director starting in 1983.

He replaced Otto Breitenbach as WCHA commissioner in 1994.

"Bruce McLeod has had a profound and positive impact on U.S. collegiate hockey over his 20-year tenure as Commissioner of the WCHA,” former BSU head coach and College Hockey America commissioner Bob Peters said. “His tireless efforts on behalf of the sport, for both men and women, are legendary.

McLeod played a major role in establishing the WCHA's women's league, an excellent display of his foresight. In addition, his strong guidance is evident in the very successful WCHA Final Five, long regarded as the most prominent post-season championship tournament in the history of collegiate hockey. A person of unfailing dedication, he truly ranks as a collegiate hockey legend."

Women's commissioner Sara Martin will also step down on June 30. She announced her retirement on Nov. 13.

The press release from the league did not specify when the search for a replacement would begin.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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