Bertagna named Commissioner of Hockey East

Joe Bertagna was named the fourth commissioner of Hockey East on Tuesday in an announcement made by the conference’s Board of Directors.

The Arlington, Mass. native leaves the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), where he was employed for 15 years, including the last three as the conference’s first Hockey Commissioner.

Bertagna will stay with the ECAC until his current contract expires on June 1. He is expected to take a month off before assuming his post with Hockey East on July 1.

“I am sincerely excited about the opportunity to work for the schools of Hockey East,” said Bertagna, 45. “My 15 years with the ECAC have been terrific and this decision did not come without some difficulty. But I look forward to new relationships and new challenges in one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences.”

Bertagna is a respected ambassador of the game who has worn many hats for the ECAC since his hiring in 1982-83 as tournament director. Bertagna has served as the Executive Director of the American Hockey Coaches Association since 1984.

“I am very excited and I know all of the Hockey East athletic directors are as well to have Joe moving into the job this summer,” said Gary Strickler, Chairman of the Hockey East Executive Committee and Director of Athletics at Boston University, “Joe brings a national hockey reputation and I know he will make our strong conference even stronger.

“We know what a good job Joe has done for ECAC hockey, and look forward to him doing the same for Hockey East.”

Bertagna started working primarily as the public relations coordinator for the ECAC following a stint as the sports information director at Harvard, his alma mater. He is credited for creating the ECAC’s tournament television package, regular season television package and corporate sponsorships with Bauer and Karhu. He was a driving force behind the Hockeyfest Tournament at the Boston Garden in 1991 and 1992 and played an instrumental role in moving the ECAC Championships to Lake Placid, N.Y., the tournament’s home since 1993.

“The entire ECAC ice hockey community of over 90 programs is heavily indebted to Joe for the tremendous job he’s done for us all,” said Clayton Chapman, Commissioner of the ECAC. “He has given us strong and inspired leadership, taking our ECAC Division I Men’s League to national prominence year in and year out, was a pivotal force in the creation of our successful ECAC Women’s League and Alliance, and in the establishment of the only women’s conference championships in the country.

“Joe Bertagna’s name will always be remembered as synonymous with ECAC Hockey, and we all join in wishing him well as he moves on to new challenges with Hockey East.”

Bertagna, a 1973 graduate of Harvard University, enjoyed a fruitful playing and coaching career as a goaltender. He starred at Harvard under Bill Cleary and at Arlington High School under Eddie Burns. Bertagna played professionally for the Milwaukee Admirals and in Cortina, Italy. He authored “Goaltending,” a textbook on the fundamentals of the position, and “Crimson in Triumph,” a book dedicated to Harvard athletic history.

Bertagna began his coaching career in 1985 with the Boston Bruins, staying with the Bruins as the goaltenders coach until 1991 and rejoining the team for the 1994-95 season. He also has coached with the Milwaukee Admirals (1994-96). Bertagna has operated his own goalie camps in the summer since 1973.

“I am excited with Joe’s decision to become our commissioner,” said Robert M. DeGregorio, Jr., the director of Athletics at Merrimack College and former Hockey East Commissioner. “I have known Joe for many years. I have worked with him both as a commissioner and as an athletic director and I feel his expertise will help move Hockey East into the next century.

“He is well-known and well-respected throughout the hockey community and his expertise will only further enhance the greatness of the Hockey East Association.”


  1. Microcosm of UNO’s defensive woes, and, their season, in general.

    Third time this season they have erased a 3 goal deficit (twice on the road) and they are 1-2-0 in those games. Tough ones to lose.

    Prediction: Dean Blais is gone at the end of this season. Either by Trev Alberts hand, or, he “retires” even though he has a year left there on his contract. There are only 5 schools in all of college hockey with more NHL draft picks on their roster than they have and one of those is NOT Austin Ortega. They oughta to be a bit better than this.

    Good God almighty, only 6 teams in all of D-1 hockey have given up more goals than they have on a team that leads it’s conference in goals scored.

    I’ll take it one step further and guess that Mike Gabinet is the next head coach, with an outside shot at it being Brian Kaufman. They have some serious money problems there and I doubt they can afford to bring in someone as high profile (read:expensive) as Blais.

    • The last few seasons, it is like UNO is the complete opposite of previous years of UND teams. Start off hot or pretty good, and then have a total collapse after Christmas.

      • Last season they were the only NCAA D-1 team to go undefeated and untied in non conference play and they did not make the NCAA tourney. I wonder when the last time that happened was? Actually, I wonder if it has EVER happened before? On it’s face, that would seem nigh impossible to do.

  2. Another great recap on DU game, Candace. Dry roads, no traffic on I-25, Todd Anderson kept his whistle in his pocket, and a great game ensued. Looks like you do your best work late at night. I have to admit Sparky was 100% correct when he said Borgstrom is the best player in CH. Every single game he does something that makes you shake you head in disbelief. The way he stick handles around, and through, 3 or 4 players is amazing, like he has puck on a string. Bonus that he has a quick, deceptive shot. Doing it in the strongest league in CH is icing on the cake. Tonight ought to be just as raucous, senior night with a lot of alumni that aren’t still playing in NHL. SCSU brought their great skill level and effort, I expect the same tonight.

      • That’s the kind of game you can’t get too upset if your team loses. Nice rebound by UND, look to more of same tonight even though I will only see score and not able to watch game. Terry must have taught Gambrell how to go 5-hole. :-)

    • The other night when you said this series better not have Anderson reffing……was funny, turn on the game, first thing I see is the back of a ref…..Number 4…..all I could do was laugh a little bit. But like you said, really surprising he didnt make any bonehead calls. He is typically good for at least one or two per game.

      • Of course we all recognized him during warmups, even with his jacket covering his number, our first thought was here we go again. I was stunned that he let them play, usually he has to take over the game. I really hope he does the same tonight. Nice flow when you let both teams play, neither team is dirty so why make up calls?

        PS-I could picture the look on your face when you saw #4. It must have been priceless.

    • DU looks really good. Troy Terry is a point scoring machine. I do think Borgstrom is the best player in CH, though I don’t think he will win the Hobey (for a few reasons). If DU plays their best hockey through the NT I don’t think there is a team that can match them over 60 minutes…not even UMD.
      On a side note, the officiating for the UND game was horrific. I know I am beating my head against the wall here, but calling these CH games so tightly is taking away the essence of the game. Just my opinion.

      P.S. Great work Candace. Love your photog work in the post-game interviews….:)

      • I agree the officiating has been horrendous. All us season ticket holders had a heart attack when Anderson took the ice in warmups. Thought the game would last 4 hours with his calls. Every time I tune in to watch a game, it aggravates the hell out of me. Other than DU and UND, I have no rooting interest but it is totally unfair to the players. The Miami-UMD game Thursday night was decided by a PP goal on a totally “phantom” call. With the score tied and two minutes to play, it better be a real good penalty to put a team shorthanded. I don’t even think Borgstrom is eligible, since he wasn’t in the online vote. Montgomery only nominated Butcher, no problem at all rewarding a senior.

        • I had to stop watching after that call. The problem is, there are calls like that in every game. The new officiating rules do nothing to protect players, and they certainly do not add to the game by any measure.

          • I’m just baffled at how pushing a guy over, one that is like 5 foot 9 and probably 180 pounds, is a cross check. Especially when the “offender” is 6’3 and probably 220

          • Pucker Toolman should be allowed to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. The referees are just meanies.


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