The ECHL announced on Tuesday that the Board of Governors has unanimously approved the appointment of Ryan Crelin to succeed Brian McKenna as Commissioner of the League. The transition will occur during the off-season and Crelin will assume the duties as the Commissioner and Treasurer prior to the 2018-19 Season.
Crelin has been with the ECHL since 2005, and has held a variety of roles, most recently Chief Operating Officer, a position he assumed in May 2017.
“I am extremely happy to welcome Ryan as the Commissioner of the ECHL,” said Ray Harris, Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors. “It has been a distinct pleasure to work with Ryan for the past 13 years and witness his growth within our organization first hand. His effort and devotion to our League is inspiring and I am confident that he will continue the success and growth of the ECHL.”
“I am truly honored to receive this designation from the Board of Governors and to be allowed to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Kelly, Rick Adams and Brian McKenna, each of whom have given me guidance ever since I arrived at the ECHL,” Crelin said. “I have been fortunate enough to grow my career with the League and look forward to working with our teams to create the strategic framework to build on the many successes the League has already earned.
“As we look to the future, I believe we can further our development role within the hockey landscape for the NHL and AHL, while continuing to offer our devoted fans quality entertainment within the many communities we serve,” Crelin continued. “It is with great pleasure that I get to work with the people of the ECHL as we embark on year number 31 and beyond.”
McKenna, who announced he would be stepping down from the Commissioner role in February, stated, “Ryan has an extensive knowledge of team and League operations. He is an extremely diligent, intelligent and hard-working individual who has gained the respect of our owners and League partners. In addition, he has a firm grasp of what must be done to meet the challenges of the future.”
During his time with the League, Crelin has been responsible for the overall operations of the League focusing on financial initiatives, Leaguewide partnerships/contracts, and signature League showcase events such as the annual All-Star Game and Marketing Meetings. In addition, he also has worked closely with teams on Leaguewide risk management, ticket sales/corporate sponsorship revenue generation, arena-lease negotiations, and budgeting/operations within the scope of the ECHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, NHL/AHL Affiliation Agreements and overall business model. Crelin led the marketing initiative in the ECHL/GEICO relationship creating the first of its kind blue-painted and branded goal posts, and secured the partnership with EA Sports for the inclusion of the ECHL in the NHL video game series.
Crelin earned his M.B.A. with a concentration in finance & taxation at Rutgers University in May 2010 after being awarded his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in sport management & marketing from Seton Hall University in May 2006. At Seton Hall, he also served as president of the Sport Management Student Association, was a member of the National Business Honor Society and played ice hockey for the Pirates. Prior to joining the ECHL, Crelin worked for a Public Accountant near his hometown of Middletown, N.J. and currently resides in Belford, N.J. with his wife and family.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been 641 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 18 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.