The United States Hockey League has announced that Ellis T. (Skip) Prince will become the USHL's new commissioner. Mr. Prince will assume his duties as head of America's top junior hockey league immediately.
"I'm privileged to have the opportunity to work with one of the most important developmental organizations - as well as a source of some of the most exciting hockey - in the United States," said Prince. "In its short history, the USHL has already provided a training ground for thousands of the world's top players. The league has provided an extraordinary opportunity for the present and future stars of U.S. hockey to play at the NCAA level and professionally in the NHL, something that 118 of our alumni, including 69 last season, have already accomplished. It's a great league, and at the same time the cutting edge of the U.S. movement to create a training environment that protects our players' amateur status as they grow into the best they can be – on and off the ice."
Outgoing President Gino Gasparini will remain with the USHL in the role of executive vice president and senior advisor, and among his duties will oversee hockey operations for Commissioner Prince. "The USHL and Tier I hockey in the United States only exist because of Gino Gasparini's tireless work over the past 14 years with the NCAA, USA Hockey, and literally thousands of players, coaches and general managers," said Prince. "He's a critical part of our plans moving forward, and I'm looking forward to working with him as well as with the league's ownership."
Mr. Prince, a native of Virginia, comes to the USHL from The Prince Companies, a consulting firm he started in 2004. Prior to starting his practice,Mr. Prince was a senior advisor to the Canadian Football League, and from 2001-2003 served as president and chief executive officer of the Montreal Alouettes, where he oversaw the repositioning of the franchise (and, in 2002, the club's first Grey Cup in 25 years). While in Montreal, Mr. Prince was named to a list of the "Top Ten Most Influential People in Canadian Sport."
On the hockey side, his resume is similarly impressive; Prince spent nine years as vice president of the National Hockey League (1991-2000), where he was responsible for the league and team television and business operations, as well as many of its business development initiatives including NHL International. He has also been the vice president of Anschutz Properties, precursor to AEG and the parent company of the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings as well as teams and venues worldwide.
"The USHL Board of Governors is pleased that we were able to find and hire a person with the experience and leadership qualities that Skip possesses," said USHL Chairman of the Board Jim Kronschnabel. "We are also thrilled that Gino Gasparini, who has taken this league so far during his tenure, will remain with the league, oversee the hockey operation and assist with this leadership transition."
Mr. Prince graduated from Yale University in 1974 with a double major in political science and anthropology. He was a member of the Bulldogs' varsity football and tennis teams, and earned honors as a National Merit Scholar, Yale Scholar, and a Rhodes Scholar Finalist. He is a 1977 graduate with honors of the University of Virginia School of Law. He has been a law professor at Whittier School of Law in Los Angeles, Calif., and from 1986 until his NHL appointment was a partner in the law firm of Gottlieb and Schwartz in Chicago where he helped found the Arena Football League and served as its first General Counsel. He is an active speaker and lecturer, and an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.
"My sense is that the hockey fan base in the U.S. may not quite understand how special the USHL is – and how critical its success and growth is to the development of the sport of hockey in the United States," said Prince. "We're out to change that. This is going to be a great ride."
Mr. Prince and his wife, Ms. Sharon Berardi-Prince, an actress and drama educator, reside in Brooklyn, N.Y.