NCHC adds business operations manager, media relations consultant

The administration for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference continues to develop this summer with new additions to the league office staff.

Verna Toller was hired recently as business operations manager while Mike Moran, a former longtime spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee, signed a short-term contract as a media relations consultant, commissioner Jim Scherr said on Wednesday.

“We’re real excited to bring Verna on board,” Scherr said. “Mike’s a good friend who is just down the hall and has extensive experience in media relations.”

Toller was hired in July after spending nine months with the City of Colorado Springs in the real estate services division. From May 2008 to December 2010, she worked for CB Richard Ellis, an international commercial real estate company, first as the real estate services administrator and later as the assistant real estate manager.

Before taking seven years off to raise her three children, she helped start the Grubb and Ellis/Quantum Commercial Group, a Colorado Springs-based affiliate of Grubb & Ellis Company. In her 10 years there, she advanced from receptionist to office manager and to business operations manager.

The Pueblo Community College business graduate lives in Colorado Springs with her husband Dave, an Air Force Academy assistant athletic director who handles media relations for football and hockey, and their three children: Jordan (11), Jake (11) and Jimmy (8).

Moran serves as the senior media consultant for the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., where Scherr serves on the board of directors. Moran’s career with the USOC spans 13 Olympic Games, from 1978 to 2005. His 46-year career also includes work as a sports information director at Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado.

Scherr and director of hockey operations Joe Novak, a former Air Force assistant athletic director, USA Hockey supervisor of officials and NHL off-ice official, will travel to Minneapolis next week to meet with representatives from the city’s business community and the Target Center about developing sponsorships for the league’s first postseason tournament in March 2014. The league and arena signed a five-year contract in June. Novak started work with the NCHC in July.

They also will host a meeting later this month to develop the league’s governing structure and academic rules with the faculty athletic representatives from the eight member schools: Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.

“We’re excited to move forward on these issues,” Scherr said.

A grand opening for the league office, which will have computer and phone systems installed in the next few days, will be held in early to mid-September.

The league formed 13 months ago with six founding members. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan joined in September 2011.

It all started with the announcement of Penn State’s new program, which prompted the other Big Ten schools to form a six-team conference that starts play in 2013 and since signed a postseason tournament deal rotating the site between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

That league will also include Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State of the CCHA and WCHA members Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Those schools’ departure and concern over losing ground in recruiting, ticket revenue and prestige prompted the original six members to form the NCHC, which is headquartered in the Copper Building near the Broadmoor Hotel in southwest Colorado Springs.

Notre Dame left the CCHA for Hockey East, and the remaining CCHA members joined the WCHA. The CCHA will cease operations after this coming season.

Hockey East has since added Atlantic Hockey member Connecticut for the 2014-15 season, giving it an even 12 members.