Dan Near to be fourth commissioner of the Western Hockey League

Western Hockey League (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Matt Tidcombe of the Canadian Hockey League on Thursday, Dan Near of Markham, Ontario is set to be the fourth commissioner in the history of the Western Hockey League. Near is to take over full responsibilities from Ron Robison of Indian Head, Saskatchewan on February 15, 2024. Robison will continue on in an advisory role.

Robison has been the Western Hockey League Commissioner since 2000. Prior to Robison, Hockey Hall of Famer and former New York Rangers head coach and general manager Frank Boucher of Ottawa, Ontario was the WHL Commissioner from 1966 to 1968. He was followed by Dev Dley of Kamloops, British Columbia from 1995 to 2000. Dley was criticized during his time for his lack of action regarding the Graham James sexual assault controversy in Swift Current.

Between 1969 to 1994, the WHL had five presidents. They were Ron Butlin of Calgary, Alberta (1968 to 1971), Jim Piggott of Bangor, Saskatchewan (1971 to 1972), Del Wilson of Craik, Saskatchewan (1972 to 1973), Ed Chynoweth of Dodsland, Saskatchewan (1973 to 1979, and 1980 to 1995), and David Descent of Ottawa (1979 to 1980).

In an interview with Ryan Leslie of Rogers Sportsnet on Thursday, Near is most pleased with the WHL scholarship program at the moment. All players receive one full year of tuition and textbooks for every year they are in the WHL. Near’s work experience is in the National Hockey League marketing department and Adidas.


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