Josh Fenton

Josh Fenton, who is currently the commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, has been named the commissioner of the Summit League. Fenton replaces Tom Douple, who retired in October after leading the league for 16 years. Fenton will serve as a special consultant beginning Jan. 1, 2022, then take over permanent duties on April 11, 2022

SIOUX FALLS — The Summit League's President's Council announced Josh Fenton as the sixth Commissioner in the 40-year history of the League Friday. Fenton will take over the leadership of the 10-member conference from Tom Douple, who retired in October after serving as commissioner for 16 years.

Fenton will serve as a special consultant to the League, starting on January 1, 2022, until he takes over on a permanent basis on April 11, 2022, at which time he will conclude his tenure as commissioner at the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. He has served in that role since July of 2013, taking over that position just before league competition began later that fall.

"As current Chair of The Summit League President's Council, I am excited to welcome Josh Fenton to the Commissioner role. I have known and worked with Josh for several years through the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and I believe he is the perfect fit for The Summit League at such an extraordinary time in the history of college athletics," University of Denver Chancellor Dr. Jeremy Haefner said.

"Josh brings great character, strategic leadership experience and strong work ethic to this opportunity. I look forward to working with him as we create a bold vision for The Summit League."

During what will culminate in a nine-year run with the NCHC, Fenton was responsible for the general oversight of an upstart conference that has already produced 27 NCAA Tournament teams, 12 combined Frozen Four appearances and four National Champions.

"I am humbled and incredibly grateful to The Summit League Presidents and Chancellors for this outstanding opportunity to lead a great group of institutions during a period of unprecedented change in collegiate sports," Fenton said. "With a committed membership and bold thinking, I believe the League is well positioned to be an elite conference across the NCAA Division I landscape.

"With already a strong foundation among the membership, a high commitment to the Division I student-athlete experience, and passionate fan bases, we will use these strengths to enhance student success experiences, while elevating The Summit League profile and brand across collegiate sports."

Off the ice, there have been numerous achievements by the NCHC that were a direct result of Fenton's leadership. One of the most recent successes was a 'one of kind', NCHC Pod, which was designed and executed to allow for safe competition for its members during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the first three weeks of last December, all eight NCHC teams traveled to Omaha, Neb., where they combined to play 38 games and, more importantly, had zero active Covid-19 infections detected among Tier I personnel throughout the duration of the event after executing over 3,000 tests.

Fenton negotiated a five-year agreement to move the conference's tournament championship, known as the Frozen Faceoff, to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., which began with the 2018 event and runs through 2022. During that first year, the Frozen Faceoff surpassed all prior year's attendance, tickets sold and revenue figures.

Beyond the creation of NCHC.tv, which is a direct-to-consumer integrated digital video platform that streams NCHC games and has grown in subscription revenue by 285 percent since it started in 2014-15, Fenton has also negotiated numerous linear TV partnerships to gain national and regional exposure for the conference and its member institutions. The NCHC currently has one of the few national TV network deals for college hockey with CBS Sports Network.

Fenton has also been keenly focused on student-athlete well-being initiatives recently. He led the formation of the NCHC's student-athlete well-being task force, which aims to provide resources and programming on well-being topics faced by student-athletes. Fenton also recently led an initiative for the conference to develop a partnership with RISE, a national non-profit focused on educating athletes on racial equity and social justice.

Nationally, Fenton has made a significant impact on the sport of ice hockey. He currently serves as the Chair of the Hockey Commissioners Association and has worked with others across the game to institute a new overtime standard, adjusted recruiting rules to alleviate early recruiting, and the development of the College Hockey for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Fenton also brings familiarity to several Summit League campuses as the NCHC's membership includes three current institutions that are also members of the League. That trio includes the University of Denver, the University of Nebraska Omaha and the University of North Dakota.

Prior to taking on his current role with the NCHC, Fenton was a key visionary in the formation of the conference while serving as the senior associate athletic director for finance and administration at Miami (Ohio) University, which is a charter member of the conference.

During his final year with the RedHawks, Fenton was responsible for the assessment and management of the athletic department's $21 million annual budget.

He also served two years as the associate athletic director for external relations prior to his final promotion. In that role, the department saw 20-percent increases in football season ticket sales and a 65-percent increase in overall football revenue under his watch.

In just over a decade at Miami, Fenton's duties were numerous as he gained valuable experiences in athletic administration. Those ranged from coaching, strategic planning, sport administration, corporate relations and game operations while dealing with a wide variety of sports.

A native of Litchfield, Minn., Fenton received a bachelor's degree in finance in 2001 from Iowa State University where he was a member of the men's golf team for one year. He earned his master's degree in sport studies from Miami in 2004. His family, includes his wife, Lindsay, and three sons: Ryan (12), Luke (10) and Drew (6).

Summit League Deputy Commissioner Myndee Kay Larsen will continue to serve as the interim commissioner until Fenton's start date in April.

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