As of June 10th, 2017, there will be a new sheriff in town for the development of hockey’s youth in the United States. According to a report by U.S.A. Hockey filed on April 27th, Pat Kelleher of Belmont, Massachusetts will become the new executive director of U.S.A Hockey, taking over for Dave Ogrean who is retiring from the position. Kelleher is currently the assistant executive director for development at U.S.A Hockey and the U.S.A Hockey Foundation, and has guided the organization’s youth programs over the past decade.
According to a report in the New York Times, U.S.A. Hockey has recently had great success nurturing top players in its national team development program for boys. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski — who are finalists this season for the Calder Trophy, the award given to the N.H.L.’s top rookie — both came up through the system. Recent alumni also include Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, Blue Jackets defender Seth Jones and Rangers forward J. T. Miller. In addition to continuing to produce top N.H.L. prospects and challenging for international medals, Kelleher will be expected to expand girls’ participation in the sport. In March, the organization came under scrutiny when the United States women’s national team staged a boycott for an increase in support for female players, particularly at the youth level. Two of the nine members of the search committee that hired Kelleher were women.
According to U.S.A Hockey’s website,in 2011, Kelleher was given additional responsibilities overseeing The USA Hockey Foundation and has championed efforts that have resulted in donations to the Foundation’s Circle of Champions increasing five-fold over the last five years. He also established a Trustee program to more actively engage high net-worth donors in supporting USA Hockey’s mission, in addition to creating the “It Starts with a Stick” campaign to connect USA Hockey’s membership to the Foundation’s philanthropic mission through raising funds to provide 12,000 hockey sticks to new participants each year.
As stated in the New York Times, “we’re excited to have Pat lead our organization as we continue to move forward,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “He brings a vast knowledge of USA Hockey and the overall hockey landscape and is well connected at all levels of the game. Pat’s done an excellent job in leading our growth initiatives and also been at the forefront of our efforts to raise additional resources through The USA Hockey Foundation.”
As stated in the U.S.A Hockey report, “I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity,” said Kelleher. “So many people have helped build this organization into the worldwide leader that it is today, and I look forward to working with our board, staff, grassroots volunteers and the many other constituent groups involved as we continue to elevate our sport.”