The search for a new commissioner begins immediately. Reports that Scherr would take the new position by the end of the month first surfaced two weeks ago. Scherr dismissed the reports then as “premature.”
Scherr, who served 17 months out of a 4½-year contract valued at $150,000 a year, will oversee the operation of the 49-nation competition in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan in June 2015. The Olympic-style games will feature more than 10,000 athletes.
“Jim was presented with what is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph said. “While it is difficult to see him go, we understand his decision.”
The NCHC begins its inaugural season this October.
“We knew when we hired Jim that there would come a time when there would be competing bids for his services,” said board chairman and North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison said. “We know his expertise will greatly benefit their event.”
Scherr was the chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee from 2005 to 2009, after serving as interim head for two years. He also worked as the organization’s chief of sport performance. He was executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990 to 2000.
The league is in a good position thanks to Scherr and the efforts of hockey operation director Joe Novak, said Ralph, the league treasurer. The league met this morning to sign on official team hotels near Minneapolis’ Target Center for the postseason tournament in March 2014.
“With what has already been done with our bylaws, operating manuals, office setup and personnel, officiating program, and championship site, we are in a great position for our inaugural season,” Ralph said. “Joe Novak has done a great job. His passion for the game is obvious.”
“Serving as commissioner of the NCHC has been a tremendous experience and it is a difficult position to leave behind,” he said. “I regret that I will not be there to lead the conference through its inaugural season, but I have full confidence in the coaches, administrators and conference staff that the NCHC will set the standard for excellence in college hockey.”
The league formed in July 2011 with six founding members: CC, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, and North Dakota. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan joined on Sept. 22.
Recent conference realignments started with the announcement of Penn State’s new Division I program in 2010, which prompted the other Big Ten schools to form a six-team conference that begins play in October. That league will include Penn State and former Central Collegiate Hockey Association schools Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and past Western Collegiate Hockey Association members Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The moves prompted the remaining western schools to form a new version of the 61-year-old WCHA. That led to the demise of the CCHA, which was founded in 1971 and ceased operations this offseason.