ECHL announces promotions of League staff

The Premier "AA" Hockey League begins the 2018-19 season by announcing the promotion of four members of the League staff.


Joe Ernst has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. 2018-19 will be Ernst’s 28th season with the ECHL. He spent the previous eight seasons as Vice President of Hockey Operations. Ernst, who worked 16 seasons as an on-ice official in the ECHL, the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League, is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations of the League’s Hockey Operations Department and Officiating Department. He is also in charge of player supplemental discipline, and working with the ECHL Equipment Managers, Trainers and Game Operations staffs on all League-related details. Ernst was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame as the first inductee in the Referee/Linesman category in 2011.


Valerie Persinger has been promoted to Vice President of Media & Events. She spent the previous two seasons as Director of Business Operations and New Media. She spent two seasons as Manager of Business Operations after serving as the League’s Executive/Marketing Assistant for her first season. Persinger is responsible for oversight of the League’s media strategy, associated platforms and programs, and social and digital content development. Additionally, she manages all aspects of League special events such as the All-Star & Hall of Fame Events, as well as the annual Hockey Summer Meetings.


Dan Petrino has been promoted to Director of Hockey Administration after serving as the Manager of Hockey Administration the past two seasons. Petrino is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the ECHL Hockey Operations Department including the organization and release of team rosters, salary cap, player background and immigration matters while also overseeing all transactions and ongoing relations with the PHPA and other leagues.


Natalie Bernstein has been promoted to Office & Marketing Manager after serving as the League’s Executive/Marketing Assistant since she joined in February 2015. Bernstein is responsible for assisting with office duties and management as well as assisting the Commissioner and marketing department on licensing, sponsorship program coordination and planning for League-hosted events. She also assists with the production of the League’s Confidential Directory, Equipment Managers/Trainers Directory and Season Pass distribution.


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 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 31st season in 2018-19. 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 made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2018-19, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at as well as on Twitter and Facebook.