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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published July 01 2013

Fenton selected as new commissioner of National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

GRAND FORKS – When Jim Scherr resigned in May as National Collegiate Hockey Conference commissioner after just a year and a half on the job – before the newly created league ever dropped the puck – some athletic directors already had an idea for the successor.

Miami (Ohio) associate athletic director Josh Fenton was involved in the league from early on, playing a key role in getting it off the ground. He interviewed the first time around when Scherr was hired, and although he wasn’t the guy then, he made an impression on the league’s leaders.

“It was a fairly easy decision in my mind,” University of North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison said.

On Monday, Fenton was announced as the new commissioner of the league that will begin play this fall with eight members.

Fenton’s base salary will be $125,000, according to an open record request. Scherr’s base salary was $150,000.

“This is an opportunity that will be full of challenges,” said Fenton, who will move from Oxford, Ohio, to the league’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Having been there since Day 1, I don’t know if that gives me a leg up, but it does give me institutional knowledge and a historical background to hopefully set us off on the right foot as we begin our first season.”

The league’s inaugural members will be UND, Miami, Western Michigan, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and St. Cloud State.

Faison said the athletic directors were impressed with Fenton’s business and financial background. Fenton is in charge of those departments at Miami University.

Unlike Scherr, Fenton does have a hockey background, too. He played high school hockey in Minnesota, served as a volunteer coach and director of hockey operations at Miami and also had a stint as video coordinator with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

Fenton was a unanimous choice by the athletic directors and came highly recommended from his former co-workers.

“There would be no NCHC without Josh Fenton,” said Boston College athletic director Brad Bates, who used to be the AD at Miami. “From the very origins of the concept of the league, Josh’s leadership was inspiring.

“He is a rising superstar in college athletics. The member institutions have an extraordinary individual leading them into the inaugural season and every constituent of the NCHC can be confident that Josh Fenton will compel the conference to realize their lofty visions.”

Fenton’s starting date is July 15. He said he will be traveling a lot early on, meeting with officials at CBS Sports Network and the Target Center. CBS Sports has the NCHC’s television rights. The Target Center will host the NCHC’s postseason tournament.

“(Fenton) is very dedicated and hard-working, and leads with detailed integrity and passion,” Miami coach Rico Blasi said. “He will be a huge asset to our conference.”

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald