From The Desk Of Joe Bertagna - Summer 2017

Joe BertagnaThe following is an excerpt from Joe Bertagna's Summer 2017 column in Stops and Starts:

I begin the last column of this season with a "shout out" to our changing of the guard at the top of the AHCA hierarchy. For the past three seasons, it has been my pleasure to work with Brian Riley who has done an extraordinary job as AHCA president. Brian was the 13th president with whom I have worked and while that list is impressive, none were better at the task than Brian.

Part of my personal enjoyment in working with Brian was getting to know him on his own terms. His oldest brother, Jay, was a classmate and teammate of mine at Harvard many years ago. My introduction to Brian was as "the little brother." I got to know brothers Mark and Rob well before getting this chance to work with Brian.

But before I lament his moving to the "Past-President" role, I am thrilled that Miami's Rico Blasi volunteered to step up and succeed Brian. I expect we won't miss a beat.

Speaking of the "changing of the guard," USA Hockey made a great selection in Pat Kelleher as its new Executive Director, replacing the retiring Dave Ogrean. Dave and I share the ECAC's Asa Bushnell Internship on our early resumes and he has been a good friend in his years deftly steering USA Hockey on a day-to-day basis.

Pat comes from one of the great Massachusetts hockey families, his brother Chris a star defenseman at BU, his brother Tim a standout goalie at BC, his brother Brendan a top Hockey East linesman and his father Dan one of the great grass roots builders in the youth program of Belmont.

Pat played four years at Brown and enjoyed a brief coaching stint as an assistant at UMass Boston before turning to the administrative side. He has been with USA Hockey since 2008, serving a number of roles, all with great competence.

USA Hockey also made hiring news by bringing former RPI head coach Seth Appert on board to take the reins of the NTDP in Plymouth, MI. Appert, who was a goaltender at Ferris State, spent 11 seasons as head coach in Troy and was previously a member of George Gwozdecky's staff at Denver during their NCAA championship run.

While I began this column singing the praises of Brian Riley, I need to give AHCA Treasurer Bruce Delventhal equal time. The two are shown together on this page and it was Bruce on the receiving end of some hardware in mid-May when he received the Dr. Patrick Damore Distinguished Service Award from the SUNYAC officers.The award is the highest award given by the conference and honors a retired institutional or conference affiliated individual who has made a significcant contibution to the conference and has served the SUNYAC for at least 10 years. As the readership should know, Bruce served as the AD at Plattsburgh State for a decade or so, retiring in January of 2016.

– Joe Bertagna

Joe's full column is available in each edition of Stops and Starts - The Official Publication of the American Hockey Coaches Association. Each AHCA Member has access to current and archived editions of Stops and Starts in our Member's Only Section and can read Joe's full column in each edition of Stops and Starts.