CALGARY, Alta. – Coming up to one month on the job as commissioner of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Kyle McIntyre has been vigorously involved in the early days of his new position.
Hired back in May, McIntyre takes over the helm there from Canadian Junior Hockey League Life Member, Bill Chow, who retired after 11 years guiding the 12-team SJHL.
Holding Master of Educational Administration and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, McIntyre joins the SJHL following a three-decade-stint in education, including the past 20 years in a senior leadership position.
Officially beginning his new position on June 1, he also got an early start to his SJHL timeline with involvement during last month’s Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, in Estevan, Sask.
With that, here’s a CJHL Q&A with Kyle McIntyre:
CJHL: How are the early days of SJHL commissioner coming along?
KYLE MCINTYRE: In a word, the first few days have been: “Busy.”
I have met a number of people inside of our league and inside of the CJHL.
Everyone has been incredibly helpful and very welcoming.
Being a part of the Centennial Cup during my first few weeks was an absolute thrill and the City of Estevan and the Estevan Bruins did a fantastic job hosting the 10-team event.
CJHL: What are a couple of your key tasks you’d like to get accomplished heading into the 2022-23 season?
KM: The first thing out of the gate is that I want to build positive relationships and be visible in communities and in rinks.
I have committed to meeting with every SJHL team and board of governors. We are a league that is about players and our communities.
At some point I also want to form a 12-player focus group with representation from each team to find out what we as a league are doing well and what we can be doing better for our players.
My immediate goals right now are to get our schedule done, having completed our prospect draft and learn as much as I can about the league and the people in it.
CJHL: Do you have any future goals in mind for the SJHL?
KM: That is a great question. We recently completed our AGM and Governor’s Retreat where we worked on creating a new vision for our league and a new five-year strategic plan focusing on work in hockey operations, business operations and marketing.
The league is looking at promoting more homegrown Saskatchewan talent and developing stronger working partnerships with Hockey Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan U18 AAA League, ACAC, USPORTS and NCAA programs.
We also need to ensure that our business table is strong because without a strong business table we won’t have a strong hockey table.
A new Department of Player Safety and Standard of Play has also been created to ensure that the league continues to focus on both the skill and safety of players. This department will be led by Brad Howard and Clint Joyes.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and its 12 teams are known for its exceptional player development and its commitment to its players, its people, and the communities it serves: “Rich Past, Strong Future.”
CJHL: Can you offer some of your thoughts on Bill Chow, and his time in the SJHL, as you take over for him?
KM: Bill Chow is a legend in Saskatchewan, and in the CJHL. He is one of the most recognizable people in Saskatchewan.
The SJHL brand is strong and a lot of that can be attributed to Bill. I know that I have very big shoes to fill.
Thankfully, Bill has been on speed dial for the last month, or so.
I appreciate that our board of governors allowed us a bit of transitional overlap. Bill has introduced me to a number of key people in our league and in the CJHL and has been willing to share his expertise. I hope this continues.
CJHL: How was your Centennial Cup experience and beginning to work alongside with your fellow CJHL commissioners?
KM: Let me preface this by saying, I absolutely love hockey. But I have to admit I had hockey fatigue after the event.
The hockey was excellent. The fellowship and opportunity to pick the brains of and make connections with the other commissioners was awesome.
It took awhile to put names with faces but what made it easy was that three of the nine are named Kevin. (Kevin Abrams/CCHL; Kevin Saurette/MJHL); Kevin Figsby/LHJAAAQ). When in doubt choose Kevin.
Seriously, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience with everyone and they are all willing to share their expertise.
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