Wednesday the ECAC named assistant commissioner of public relations Steve Hagwell as the new head of ECAC ice hockey.
Hagwell, hired this past summer from the NCAA to oversee the public-relations arm of the ECAC, takes over for Jeff Fanter, who resigned Oct. 4.
In his new position, Hagwell becomes assistant ECAC commissioner, and will oversee all of the league’s ice hockey operations in addition to maintaining some of his duties in the public-relations wing. The ECAC, like the MAAC but unlike the CCHA, WCHA, College Hockey America and Hockey East, is a multisport conference with all sports reporting to league commissioner Phil Buttafuoco.
“I’m excited,” said Hagwell. “I love the game, I was never a great player, [but] I watched it growing up and I worked with it at the NCAA. I know a lot of the officials, the coaches and it’s a great community. Everyone I have dealt with in hockey has been a pleasure.”
The plan for the ECAC now includes hiring a director of publicity to take over some of Hagwell’s public-relations duties while he concentrates on the operations side of ice hockey. In addition, Buttafuoco will also play a role in the governing of ice hockey.
“There will be a shift,” Hagwell said. “Phil has interest in the sport and I do too. It will be a team effort which will benefit the sport in the long run. To have all the knowledge with just one person is not beneficial. Not that I don’t want to be involved in every aspect, but if you have a number of individuals involved to tackle all of the issues, of which the ECAC has many, it would be more beneficial.”
The role that the new director of public relations will take in ice hockey will depend on a few things, among them the interest in ice hockey. In the meantime, Hagwell will continue in the public-relations role as well.
“Given that we don’t know who person X is, that will be my primary task, as it was Jeff’s,” said Hagwell.
The short time frame between Fanter’s resignation and the season beginning is definitely on Hagwell’s mind.
“I certainly won’t let things slide,” said Hagwell on the timeline. “If nothing else, with this transition that is happening now, it’s to keep the high level that Jeff had in place.”
As for the future of ECAC ice hockey, Hagwell has a plan.
“I’ve got to sit down and take a hard look at what the job entails,” he said. “Jeff’s announcement came two weeks ago and I’m still doing the job that I currently, do and that’s taking up a lot of my time.
“As to what changes are going to be made, it’s a little premature to be saying that. … Everyone is different and everyone’s personality is different and I am sure that I will have different ideas than Jeff because we are different people. But I could never work harder than Jeff.”