Monday, February 11, 2008

Gasparini To Retire

USHL To Undergo Management Change

The architect of the USHL to ease into retirement

The United States Hockey League has announced that it will be initiating a process that will ultimately lead to the retirement of league president Gino Gasparini.

"This is something that I've been thinking about, and recently I've thought about it more and more, so that was an indication to me that the timing is right to make this move," Gasparini said. "I wanted to make sure the league had enough lead time so that they could put a plan in place for the next person that will come in and lead this wonderful organization."

The league will be hiring a new president or executive director, with Gasparini staying on board as the league's commissioner to assist in the leadership change transition.

"Gino had a vision for the USHL many years ago and through his guidance and persistence that vision has become reality," said Jim Kronschnabel, Chairman of the USHL Board of Governors. "We all owe Gino a huge debt of gratitude for keeping the team owners on track with the mission he laid out for us and helping us to achieve our goals. Hopefully he will continue to be a part of the USHL for many years to come."

A search committee has been formed and will present a list of finalists for the position to the USHL Board of Governors at its May meeting. Members of the search committee are Irv Dana, Lou Mervis, Luc Robitaille and Michael Schupay. Josh Mervis will serve the committee as its secretary and Brian Schoenborn will act as the committee's legal advisor. Gasparini will also serve on the committee as an ex officio member. The timetable to fill the position will fall after the league meetings and into the off-season.

Gasparini came to the USHL in 1995, following a distinguished career as the head coach and athletic director at the University of North Dakota, where he led his teams to three national titles. His tenure in the USHL has been just as successful. In 13 seasons as the league's leader, Gasparini has transformed the USHL from a run-of-the-mill junior league into the biggest supplier of talent to NCAA Division I college hockey. The growth isn't reserved for college hockey alone. Attendance numbers have reached unprecedented heights, the league has experienced successful expansion and ownership has stabilized. The number of players chosen by, and ultimately appearing on NHL rosters, has skyrocketed under Gasparini's watch. He was the driving force behind the league's campaign for Tier I status, a classification which the league received from USA Hockey in 2002. Clearly, Gasparini's vision has made the USHL the hockey development machine that it is today.

"It isn't all due to me and I don't want anyone to get that impression. The stabilization and growth of the USHL came about through teamwork and passionate ownership that all had a vision for the league," Gasparini said. "People like Butch Johnson, who spent many years as the chairman of the board and present board chairman Jim Kronschnabel have been instrumental in moving the league forward. The current ownership will continue to move the league forward."

The USHL is America's only Tier I league and the premier path for developing players in America. The league has over 145 current players committed to Division I colleges and 19 players that have been selected in the NHL Draft. For more information on the USHL and its member teams, visit us on the web at

Link to story.


Anonymous said...

While Gino has taken the league to where it is, he wouldn't have had anything to work with if Dave Tyler hadn't done what he did to bring the USHL to its spot as the top junior league in the nation. I hear more people wishing we were back in the old days of the USHL, when the age was older and not what some call a "glorified high school league." The USHL is a great league (better than anybody else out there) but it was that when Gino took over, so we really haven't improved all that much. Bottom line...the real architect moniker of the USHL should go to Dave Tyler. I hope the next president looks to continue moving players to college and the pros, but fashions a league that has more people interested in coming out making the USHL truly America's major junior league.

Sieveman said...

I hear more people wishing we were back in the old days of the USHL, when the age was older and not what some call a "glorified high school league."
That is a typical Lincoln Star fan response when finding out the UHSL is going to Tier 1. If you look at the average age pre-Tier 1 and post-Tier 1, there isn't much difference.

Ever since the USHL went Tier 1, the League has more parity. No team has repeat as Anderson Champion or Clark Cup Champion. Prior to Tier 1, you could not make that statement.

I prefer Tier 1 over Tier 2 hockey. The parity is there that wasn't there prior to the 2002-2003 season.

Anonymous said...

The draft has had more affect on parity than anything.

Sieveman said...

The draft has had more affect on parity than anything.
Prior to Tier 1, the USHL had a tender system and the draft. Top end teams could entice top-end players to their team and they never see the draft. Basically took the top 12-15 kids from each years new prospect out of the picture of any team to get. The draft pre-Tier 1, 1st round was those who would have gone in the late 2nd early 3rd round if there was no tender system. I probably confused everyone. I think I have confused myself.

I agree the draft (without the Tender system) helped bring about parity in the League.

Anonymous said...

Now if we can just put a cap on what teams in the league can spend on getting players from other leagues...