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Thread: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Honestly, I hadn't noticed Joe Bertagna was still "running" HE. He's been MIA for a long time now.

    Given the harsh (but true) message he received from his AD's, he should step down immediately.

    Or he can just occupy space non-productively, like he's been doing for so long already.

    I think we can all guess what decision he will most likely make.

    Yawn.
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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    This is what happens when the Comm Ave Axis goes Beanpot-less for three years and wins the HEA Tournament only twice since 2013. But seriously, there has to be a story behind the story here. I'd like to get some insight on how the decision to let the contract expire was reached, which institutions were pushing it, and how united (or not) the ADs were WRT extending the contract. The USCHO and CHN stories went only so far.

    I don't know Joe personally but have always had great respect for him and wish him all the best.
    After reading about the NCHC formation, I hope that all the schools were united on this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjmc85 View Post
    After reading about the NCHC formation, I hope that all the schools were united on this.
    Why? What do you think will happen if the vote was split?

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    This is what happens when the Comm Ave Axis goes Beanpot-less for three years and wins the HEA Tournament only twice since 2013. But seriously, there has to be a story behind the story here. I'd like to get some insight on how the decision to let the contract expire was reached, which institutions were pushing it, and how united (or not) the ADs were WRT extending the contract. The USCHO and CHN stories went only so far.

    I don't know Joe personally but have always had great respect for him and wish him all the best.
    You got to wonder how much in the pocket Jim and Wodon were with Bertagna as there are no quotes in here from AD's that ended up removing him. At least get them off the record on their opinions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisP View Post
    Some in-season things the last few years - mainly a lack of action on varied incidents with players, coaches, etc. (the league burying its head in the sand on the racist incident at the BC/PC game last year was shameful) didn't help the league or the commish look very good either.
    Investigating (not exactly the specialty of a minuscule college hockey league) but not being able to prove/conclude something isn't burying your head in the sand. That would be like Penn State football under Paterno.

    Aside from that, would love to know what caused the split. I doubt certain ADs have much involvement. For example, Jerry York would have a much better feel for Bertagna than Martin Jarmond. I would think the coaches are driving this. They would be advising the AD about whether or not they approve of the commissioner.

    Could it be TV/marketing the league? Losing Notre Dame and unable to round out the league?
    Last edited by J.D.; 07-24-2019 at 10:26 PM.

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by The Zlax45 View Post
    You got to wonder how much in the pocket Jim and Wodon were with Bertagna as there are no quotes in here from AD's that ended up removing him. At least get them off the record on their opinions.
    But no one does real journalism like this anymore. Why start now, with this? How inconvenient.

    Connolly's gushing over the "legendary" (what great things did I miss these last 20+ years?) outgoing HE commish would be embarrassing enough, if he didn't pile on by following that up by touting an uninspiring list of anonymous admin types from around college hockey as his would-be replacements - most (if not all) of whom are probably JC's pals. As if the status quo here is going to be good enough.

    Dave Gavitt set the standard years ago on what could be done to transform a winter D-1 conference.

    Bertagna has fallen so far short of that standard, he makes Gary Bettman look like a visionary.
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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    Honestly, I hadn't noticed Joe Bertagna was still "running" HE. He's been MIA for a long time now.

    Given the harsh (but true) message he received from his AD's, he should step down immediately.

    Or he can just occupy space non-productively, like he's been doing for so long already.

    I think we can all guess what decision he will most likely make.

    Yawn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mookie1995 View Post
    little boy blue......
    I think that was (pretty) mean.

    For the unlighted. 🙈

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Agree with Chuck on Bertagna. I forget when he took over (can't even remember who his predecessor was) but I feel like the stability of the league made Bertagna look good. Back in the big 4 era with those teams and coaches, you certainly didn't need a great commissioner. I have never really been a fan of Bertagna but I would rather not get into why. But let's say you are a fan or think he's a "legend". What has he done to make you think that? Simply not mess up what has proven to be the most stable/successful league? (Since the WCHA split up)

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenCat View Post
    Get a single streaming platform and pay $10-20 for the season for all HE games.
    More realistic is "Pay on average $10-$20 PER GAME if you buy the full season package" based on what other leagues charge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    Agree with Chuck on Bertagna. I forget when he took over (can't even remember who his predecessor was) but I feel like the stability of the league made Bertagna look good. Back in the big 4 era with those teams and coaches, you certainly didn't need a great commissioner. I have never really been a fan of Bertagna but I would rather not get into why. But let's say you are a fan or think he's a "legend". What has he done to make you think that? Simply not mess up what has proven to be the most stable/successful league? (Since the WCHA split up)
    After 15 years with ECAC, Bertagna became commish of HEA in July 1997. Not sure who was HEA commish the first 12 years.

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    In a lot of ways, given the proximity of the schools this conference could have been run on autopilot for the last 20 years.

    I think sometimes change is necessary. This league had a good old boy network feel to it. And it needed to be shaken up.
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    The fact that you BC fans revel in the superiority of your team in an admittedly weak league leads me to believe you will be more sorely disappointed when the end comes than we will.

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    After 15 years with ECAC, Bertagna became commish of HEA in July 1997. Not sure who was HEA commish the first 12 years.
    Lou Lamoriello (1983-1987)
    Dennis Hanks (officially "temporary Executive Director") (1987-1988)
    Stu Haskell (1988-1993)
    Robert DeGregorio (acting) (1993-1997)
    Joe Bertagna (1997-present)

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Iíve tried to absorb all these things surrounding Joe over the past couple of days. His dismissal, and thatís what it is, seems to be based solely on the profitability of the league now and going forward. I see nothing in this discussion about the financials of the league and how that plays into what happened to Joe. Letís talk about the NESN deal, or lack of same. There is no contract now, NESN no longer pays a rights fee to broadcast the games and, if the league wants games on the network, the schools pay the all the production costs. That, my friends, is not going to change. So, no doubt, the schools are unhappy with the double whammy of no income and a lot of outgo. Second, the Hockey East tournament is a burden in two ways. First, the league deems all games prior to the Garden as playoff games where they take all the revenue. Second, attendance at Hockey East semis and finals has dropped precipitously over the past ten years. The league just canít sustain a model where their premiere event is losing money every year. None of this is Joeís fault IMO. Interest in college hockey has taken a nose dive over the past several years. Attendance is down everywhere except for places like Penn State and UMass where it is the brand new thing. Traditional powers like BU and Minny are drawing fractions of what they did even five years ago. And we all know that the FF is no longer a hot ticket. What Hockey East in particular, and college hockey in general, need to do is retool and get comfortable with the idea that their sport is a niche one and is never going to reach the heights that it did 10-20 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Ambrose View Post
    Iíve tried to absorb all these things surrounding Joe over the past couple of days. His dismissal, and thatís what it is, seems to be based solely on the profitability of the league now and going forward. I see nothing in this discussion about the financials of the league and how that plays into what happened to Joe. Letís talk about the NESN deal, or lack of same. There is no contract now, NESN no longer pays a rights fee to broadcast the games and, if the league wants games on the network, the schools pay the all the production costs. That, my friends, is not going to change. So, no doubt, the schools are unhappy with the double whammy of no income and a lot of outgo. Second, the Hockey East tournament is a burden in two ways. First, the league deems all games prior to the Garden as playoff games where they take all the revenue. Second, attendance at Hockey East semis and finals has dropped precipitously over the past ten years. The league just canít sustain a model where their premiere event is losing money every year. None of this is Joeís fault IMO. Interest in college hockey has taken a nose dive over the past several years. Attendance is down everywhere except for places like Penn State and UMass where it is the brand new thing. Traditional powers like BU and Minny are drawing fractions of what they did even five years ago. And we all know that the FF is no longer a hot ticket. What Hockey East in particular, and college hockey in general, need to do is retool and get comfortable with the idea that their sport is a niche one and is never going to reach the heights that it did 10-20 years ago.
    Qft

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Ambrose View Post
    ...Interest in college hockey has taken a nose dive over the past several years. Attendance is down everywhere except for places like Penn State and UMass where it is the brand new thing. Traditional powers like BU and Minny are drawing fractions of what they did even five years ago. And we all know that the FF is no longer a hot ticket. What Hockey East in particular, and college hockey in general, need to do is retool and get comfortable with the idea that their sport is a niche one and is never going to reach the heights that it did 10-20 years ago.
    The problem, IMO, goes even deeper than interest in college hockey taking a nose dive. Millennials and (especially) GenZs are ambivalent (at best) about competitive sports generally. Just take a look at all of the empty seats that have been showing up in college football and basketball stadiums recently. Even Nick Saban went on a rant last season about Alabama students not showing up in sufficient numbers. And growing numbers of empty seats are a growing concern at the pro levels also.

    But hockey has been getting hit especially hard due in no small measure to the national governing bodies in the US (USA Hockey) and Canada (Hockey Canada) not being able to get out of their own way in terms of promoting and growing the sport. To wit:

    • Kids from blue collar and other families of modest means have been priced out of the sport. Proof is in the price tags at your local hockey shop and membership fees/travel costs associated with local hockey clubs. In short, if the modern day Eruziones, Craigs, O'Callahans etc. are playing competitive sports at all, it's not hockey. Regrettably, youth hockey has become a rich man's sport and is paying a price in terms of attracting and sustaining broad interest.
    • Youth hockey, in general, is heavily tilted toward development of "elite prospects" to such a degree that recreational players--those with limited skills but who still love the game and enjoy playing it--are marginalized or even ignored to the point where they lose interest.

    At least some of those who have reliably filled seats at hockey arenas over the years did so because they developed an affinity for the sport from playing it as kids, however imperfectly. But because of cost and elitism concerns noted above, added to shorter attention spans and other societal changes, motivation to see games in person is lacking among today's college students.

    In fairness, Joe Bertagna didn't cause these problems. Maybe generational change is the only way to deal with technological and social changes that confront us. I hope so. The new guy will have his work cut out for him.
    Last edited by Split-N; 07-26-2019 at 09:34 AM.
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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    Millennials and (especially) GenZs are ambivalent (at best) about competitive sports generally.
    Yeah I think this is an oversimplification that media outlets love to spout! "Millenials are ruining [insert industry here]!" "Why aren't milennials buying the Clapper?!"

    I think young people love sports as much as any other generation, but they're focused on other things, like paying rent and student debt.
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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    The problem, IMO, goes even deeper than interest in college hockey taking a nose dive. Millennials and (especially) GenZs are ambivalent (at best) about competitive sports generally. Just take a look at all of the empty seats that have been showing up in college football and basketball stadiums recently. Even Nick Saban went on a rant last season about Alabama students not showing up in sufficient numbers. And growing numbers of empty seats are a growing concern at the pro levels also.


    This is like the people that complain that fewer kids are choosing to play high school basketball in Maine, and that numbers are down. Back in 1975 if you didn't like to play basketball, tough crap, that was your only option. Now, if basketball isn't fun, you can do any number of things, and it is easier to find those things to do than it ever was. You know when kids will play more basketball? When the adults coaching it make it more fun.

    Same deal for attendance at college/pro sports. The improvement in television technology means that you can see more of the game, from a closer vantage point, by sitting on your couch. And if your local team sucks, you can watch a team across the country just as easily. People bemoan that (for example) local kids are more interested in what Steph Curry is doing than what the Celtics are doing. Well, it's easier to watch Steph Curry than it was to watch an out of town team in 1988. And he is more enjoyable to watch than the Celtics. That's not the fault of kids, that's the fault of the Celtics.

    You aren't going to get out of going to a sporting event for less than $100. Even a college hockey game. You are going to have to travel back and forth to the game, you have to pay for food and beverage, you have to sit through boring commercial breaks, you have to deal with the drunk jerk sitting right in front of you....

    The problem for sports teams/leagues is that watching their product is much more pleasant and much cheaper at home than in the arena or stadium. The problem isn't that millennials don't like sports, the problem is that sports haven't figured out how to improve the in person experience to the point that it is palatable to millennials.

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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by sameoldfury View Post
    Yeah I think this is an oversimplification that media outlets love to spout! "Millenials are ruining [insert industry here]!" "Why aren't milennials buying the Clapper?!"

    I think young people love sports as much as any other generation, but they're focused on other things, like paying rent and student debt.
    And there's also the issue of not having the disposable time to do things like go to hockey games. I know way too many people who have had to or do work multiple jobs in addition to being full-time students, leaving them with practically no free time.
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    Re: Hockey East: 2019/20 season is Joe Bertagna's last as commish

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Ambrose View Post
    Iíve tried to absorb all these things surrounding Joe over the past couple of days. His dismissal, and thatís what it is, seems to be based solely on the profitability of the league now and going forward. I see nothing in this discussion about the financials of the league and how that plays into what happened to Joe. Letís talk about the NESN deal, or lack of same. There is no contract now, NESN no longer pays a rights fee to broadcast the games and, if the league wants games on the network, the schools pay the all the production costs. That, my friends, is not going to change. So, no doubt, the schools are unhappy with the double whammy of no income and a lot of outgo. Second, the Hockey East tournament is a burden in two ways. First, the league deems all games prior to the Garden as playoff games where they take all the revenue. Second, attendance at Hockey East semis and finals has dropped precipitously over the past ten years. The league just canít sustain a model where their premiere event is losing money every year. None of this is Joeís fault IMO. Interest in college hockey has taken a nose dive over the past several years. Attendance is down everywhere except for places like Penn State and UMass where it is the brand new thing. Traditional powers like BU and Minny are drawing fractions of what they did even five years ago. And we all know that the FF is no longer a hot ticket. What Hockey East in particular, and college hockey in general, need to do is retool and get comfortable with the idea that their sport is a niche one and is never going to reach the heights that it did 10-20 years ago.
    So what you're saying is, let's keep JB on board, give up entirely on developing media-related game income, play the HE Tourney at Agganis Arena, and prepare for D-1 Hockey to become D-1 Volleyball?

    That's a pretty bleak outlook, Greg. Can we at least hire someone who might try to do a little better?
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