After seventeen years of leading the Eastern Junior Hockey League, Dan Esdale has announced his retirement.
Esdale founded the EJHL in 1992 with six teams, the NECDL Classics, Rhode Island Sharks, Tyngsboro Huskies, Granite State (NH) Stars, Matt O’Neill Lightning, and Springfield Olympics, and began its inaugural regular season 1993-94 with a goal to provide top-level junior competition in the Greater Boston Area. The league has since expanded to fourteen teams with a footprint that includes greater Boston, Springfield, MA, upstate New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire and Philadelphia.
With Esdale at the helm, the EJHL evolved into one of the top college development and advancement leagues in North America, having sent well over one thousand players to the NCAA ranks and twenty two to the National Hockey League.
“[Establishing the EJHL and serving as commissioner] was one of the most rewarding hockey experiences of my life,” commented Esdale. “I’m very proud of the EJHL, its member teams and its accomplishments. I feel confident that the EJHL can achieve greater heights in serving the hockey community.”
Esdale continues his involvement with the sport with his service as Vice President- Junior Council Chair of USA Hockey, a post he has held since 2007.
Commissioner duties will be assumed by Bob Mainhardt, who most recently served as the Head Coach of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms as well as Director of Hockey Operations of the Phantoms youth organization.
“I am honored to be following in Dan Esdale’s footsteps and excited to be continuing his great work,” said Mainhardt. “Most of all, I am excited for the future of the EJHL.”
Mainhardt, Director of Hockey Operations Jack Sweeney, and the fourteen Eastern Junior Hockey League member teams established the Dan Esdale Fund as a gesture of gratitude for the vision and countless hours of hard work spent in building the Eastern Junior Hockey League.Adding to Dan’s interest and work in the area of Player Development, the EJHL created a new Award , the Dan Esdale Player Development Award which will presented annually to the member team who has had the greatest success developing and advancing players that season.
The Eastern Junior Hockey League extends its thanks to Dan Esdale and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)