COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After more than eight years at the helm, NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton is stepping down from his role following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced. Fenton has been hired as the Commissioner of The Summit League, also announced on Friday, and will officially begin that role on April 11, 2022.
Fenton will start his transition as a Special Consultant to The Summit League on Jan. 1, 2022. He will work closely with The Summit League members and leadership on the highest priorities before making the full transition in early April. Fenton will remain in his current role as full-time NCHC Commissioner through April 10, 2022.
“The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has meant the world to me and our family for now over 10 years. I will forever be grateful to the people across our member institutions, conference staff, and business partners for the opportunity to work alongside them in building one of the best college hockey conferences across the country,” Fenton said. “Those relationships are what I will cherish the most. Our focus has never wavered, which has been a constant commitment to student success and experience. Ultimately, the success of the NCHC is a testament to the work performed by many people and it was my true honor to be a part of it.
“I am ecstatic for the opportunity with The Summit League and am eager to begin, but appreciative of the chance to continue leading the NCHC through the end of the college hockey season. I firmly believe the NCHC is well positioned for sustained, elite national success long into the future.”
Fenton’s guidance and leadership have played an integral role in making the NCHC the nation’s premier men’s collegiate hockey conference. He took the reins as the Conference’s second-ever Commissioner in July of 2013, prior to any games having been played. Since then, the NCHC has achieved many tremendous accomplishments both on and off the ice.
“The incredible success of the NCHC has been a direct result of Josh’s leadership. He has created a national showcase for hockey, a broad market for the NCHC, and an enduring organization that will continue to produce national championships,” said Chair of the NCHC Board and University of North Dakota President Dr. Andy Armacost. “Most importantly, Josh has been committed to our number one priority – the growth of our athletes as students, leaders, and human beings.”
Some of Fenton’s achievements while with the NCHC include helping to originally establish the conference, forming the NCHC Frozen Faceoff (the championship tournament weekend), creating NCHC.tv (the Conference’s digital network), being the first conference to implement 3-on-3 overtime, moving the NCHC Frozen Faceoff to an NHL venue in Xcel Energy Center, hosting a showcase game at Madison Square Garden (the College Hockey Showdown), operating with multiple surplus positions, and negotiating numerous national and regional television partnerships, including with CBS Sports Network. Perhaps his most unique accomplishment, however, was overcoming a global pandemic by implementing and successfully executing the one-of-a-kind NCHC Pod at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Neb. to start last season.
“Josh has been a guiding voice of the NCHC even before its charter was drafted. He came into the Commissioner role at a critical point, only months before we began competition, and has been recognized as an innovative thinker and trusted advocate not only for our member institutions, but for college hockey as a whole,” said Chair of the NCHC Athletic Council and St. Cloud State University Athletic Director Heather Weems.
On the ice, the NCHC has also seen great success under Fenton’s watch, with 27 teams making the NCAA Tournament in seven seasons, 12 teams advancing to the Frozen Four and four NCHC teams winning national championships. In addition, the NCHC has seen two Hobey Baker Award winners, two Mike Richter Award winners and two Spencer Penrose Award winners, as well as 46 All-Americans, with Fenton in charge.
“The Summit League made an excellent decision in naming Josh their next Commissioner. He is the consummate professional, a fantastic communicator, and deeply committed to the student experience. In the changing NCAA landscape, he will be an excellent leader for The Summit,” Weems added. “On behalf of the NCHC Athletics Directors and coaches, I want to thank Josh for his dedication to making the NCHC the premier men's conference in college hockey. We wish him much success and are grateful to finish the 2021-22 hockey season with his leadership.”
Commissioner Josh Fenton speaks at 2021 NCHC Media Day.
Commissioner Josh Fenton presents the 2020-21 Penrose Cup to North Dakota.