Hockey East associate commissioner Kathy Wynters and the conference’s athletic directors jointly announced Friday that she will be stepping down from Hockey East on June 30, 2020.
Wynters, who began her tenure with the conference in 1983, is the longest serving staffer in conference history.
“On behalf of the Hockey East athletic directors, I would like to recognize and thank Kathy for her incomparable dedication to our league,” said Boston University’s Drew Marrochello, chair of the Hockey East men’s executive committee, in a statement. “Her passion for the sport and the member schools has benefited our programs for nearly three decades and she has left an impactful mark on college hockey here in New England that will last for years to come.”
A native of Quincy, Mass., Wynters began her service to Hockey East while she was an assistant athletic director at her alma mater, Providence. While at PC, and before Hockey East had a full-time staff, Wynters worked with former PC athletic director, and then-Hockey East commissioner Lou Lamoriello on the launch of the conference in 1983. She then coordinated the first three Hockey East championship tournaments.
She served in the dual roles until 1988, when she left PC and became the full-time assistant commissioner to Stu Haskell, as the league office operated out of Bangor, Maine. Among her earlier accomplishments at Hockey East, Wynters collaborated with current Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, then with the ECAC, in coordinating the first and only “Hockeyfest” events, combining the two conference championships into single weekend events in Boston from 1989 to 1991.
“No one has given more time and passion to all things Hockey East than Kathy,” said Bertagna. “And I have been the single individual who has reaped the benefits of her efforts more than anyone. Her contributions to the growth and welfare of the conference will never be fully appreciated.”
“I have had a good run with Hockey East and am grateful for the opportunities that the game, and the conference, have provided to me for almost three decades,” added Wynters. “I can remember Lou Lamoriello inviting me to be a part of meetings when the founding directors first had the idea of forming a new conference. Planning the event at the Parker House, to announce the league, along with the interlocking scheduling agreement with the WCHA was such a thrill. In the 29 seasons that I have been with Hockey East, I am very proud of what has been accomplished.”
Lamoriello also commented on Wynters’ time with Hockey East.
“Dating back to when I first hired Kathy as a work-study student during her freshman year at Providence College in 1978, I have had the privilege of knowing and working with her for many years,” said Lamoriello, founder and first commissioner of Hockey East, and current president and GM of the New York Islanders. “She is extremely intelligent, a tireless worker, and without question has been a decided asset to the success of Hockey East from the founding days to the prominence of where the conference stands today in the world of hockey.”
After a nine-year hiatus from Hockey East, Wynters was hired by Bertagna in 2000 and has served as associate commissioner for the majority of the last two decades. Taking on myriad responsibilities, Wynters has been the primary event manager for the conference, serving as tournament manager for the men’s and women’s championships, as well as special events such as the Frozen Four, Frozen Fenway outdoor hockey, and the Belfast Friendship Four international events.
She has also given special attention to all financial and office manager duties.
During her tenure with Hockey East, Wynters has served as tournament manager of two Frozen Fours (Providence, 1986 and Boston, 2015) and she also managed 29 men’s Hockey East championships and 18 women’s Hockey East championships at various sites, and the last 20 women’s Beanpot tournaments.
Over the years, she has been responsible for securing corporate partners intermittently, and was the driving force behind the creation of both the Hockey East Kids Club and the “Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer” initiative. After 14 seasons, the Skating Strides program has raised nearly $400,000 for grass roots breast cancer initiatives.
Wynters has been recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing of Athletics on three different occasions and was also a 2016 “The One Hundred” honoree, when Massachusetts General Hospital recognized her work with the Skating Strides initiative.
“This is not a complete retirement,” added Wynters.
She has served in a part-time capacity as business manager of College Hockey, Inc., since the position was first created in 2009, and expects to continue in that role going forward.
Wynters has been involved with college hockey dating back to 1980 when she was a student manager of the Providence men’s hockey team, and has served as sports information director, director of athletic marketing and assistant athletic director at Providence, director of marketing and licensing with the New Jersey Devils, and assistant commissioner, director of marketing and associate commissioner with Hockey East.