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Sherr a front-runner for NCHC commissioner

Jim Scherr of Colorado Springs, Colo., CEO of a marketing firm and former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is one of two finalists for the job as commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, sources indicate.

Let's Play Hockey magazine, based in Minneapolis, reported Tuesday that Scherr is a front-runner for the position with the league which opens play in 2013-14. Another source confirmed the information and indicated that two finalists will be interviewed next week in Denver. A commissioner is expected to be in place by the end of December and will work out of Colorado Springs, which has already been designated as headquarters for the new league.

It's believed five finalists were interviewed for the position during the week of Oct. 31 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, including former Minnesota Wild vice president in charge of communications Bill Robertson and former NHL general manager Craig Patrick. Neither is still in the running for the job, sources indicate.

Scherr, 50, who grew up in Mobridge, S.D., wrestled for the University of Nebraska at 190 pounds and for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team at 198 pounds in the freestyle division in Seoul, South Korea. He later earned an MBA at Northwestern University and became executive director of USA Wrestling in 1990.

Scherr joined the U.S. Olympic Committee staff in 2000, was named interim Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2003, and was named CEO in 2005 and stayed through 2009. Olympics during his tenure were the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games, and the 2008 Summer Games.

"We had tremendous success in sport performance, something I look back on with pride," Scherr said in the August 2011 issue of USA Wrestler. "We also had a more efficient organization than it had ever been. We reached goals in revenue, both in gross revenue and net revenue."

In 2009, he formed 776 Original Marketing in Colorado Springs, along with three others, including Darryl Seibel, who was senior communications executive for the USOC from 2003-09 and for USA Hockey from 1992-99.

The NCHC is an eight-team league formed in July with Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, St. Cloud State, Nebraska-Omaha, Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio.

Kevin Pates is a writer for the Duluth News Tribune. The Duluth News Tribune and Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum Communications Co.