Toronto, Ont. – The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) today announced Dan MacKenzie, a long time NBA executive, has been named the league’s first full-time President. MacKenzie, who begins with the CHL in September, will report to the CHL Executive Council consisting of the commissioners of the three member leagues – David Branch of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Gilles Courteau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and Ron Robison of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
As President of the CHL, MacKenzie will be responsible for growing the game, along with enhancing the player and fan experience.
“Dan has a unique combination of league operations, sports marketing and business experience along with being a former school teacher. His experience will help the CHL continue to grow and expand our programs and player experience,” said Branch. “The CHL conducted an extensive search to find the ideal candidate to assume this role. Gilles, Ron and I are confident that Dan is that person. We look forward to working with him.”
“It’s an honour to be named the CHL’s first full-time president,” said MacKenzie. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Commissioners on strengthening the CHL and building on the strong foundation that currently exists. Growing up and living in Guelph, Ontario I understand the unique position that CHL teams hold in their communities and look forward to working with our teams to deepen the connection with our fans.”
MacKenzie has more than 20 years of experience working at the NBA, including the last eight years as Managing Director of NBA Canada. During his time leading the NBA in Canada, he spearheaded many of the league’s signature achievements in the country and this season was instrumental in the NBA’s record-breaking year in Canada, that included the most-viewed NBA season in history, a record 32 marketing partners activating across the country, and the all-time mark for NBA merchandise sales.
“Under Dan’s leadership, basketball and the NBA’s popularity in Canada have grown to all-time highs,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. “Among Dan’s many accomplishments, he oversaw the success of NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto, the expansion of our Jr. NBA program, and most recently a record-setting season for the NBA in Canada. We thank Dan for his contributions to the NBA over the last two decades and wish him the best of luck in his new role.”
MacKenzie sits on the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) Canada Board of Advisors, was the former Chair of the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC) and was the recipient of the George Brown College Alumni Achievement Award. He holds a Masters degree in Sports Management from the University of Ohio, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University, a Bachelor of Education degree from Brock University, and is a graduate of George Brown College Sport and Event Marketing Program. MacKenzie currently lives in Guelph with his wife, two children and their dog.
Branch, who has held the dual role of Commissioner of the OHL and CHL President since 1996, will continue as the Commissioner of the OHL.
About the Canadian Hockey League
The Canadian Hockey League is the world’s largest development hockey league with 52 Canadian and eight American teams participating in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.