Okotokian appointed Junior hockey league commissioner
Hockey: Ryan Bartoshyk lands top gig in AJHL
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 11:38 pm
After six years of building the Alberta Junior Hockey League brand an Okotoks resident has been appointed to the top position in the circuit.
Okotokian Ryan Bartoshyk was named the 15th commissioner in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history on March 4 following six-plus years as the vice-president of marketing.
“It’s definitely a big honour and I take a lot of pride in becoming the commissioner of the AJHL,” Bartoshyk said Monday. “The opportunity is great with this league and, yeah hockey is a business, but it comes down to people and I think we have a great group of people in this league and I look forward to working with all of our teams.”
A native of Camrose and graduate of the Bonnyville Pontiacs hockey program, Bartoshyk resides in Okotoks with his wife Michelle, who is a teacher and Senior girls volleyball coach at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School.
Bartoshyk served as vice-president of marketing for the AJHL since 2006 and saw key initiatives such as the AJHL Showcase, an annual scouting platform in September featuring every team in the league in one location, begin to flourish.
“I think we’re in a great spot. Over the past six years that I’ve been in the league we’ve made great strides,” Bartoshyk said. “The showcase is a big component of that. As a former player you can look back and think about the opportunities that I had and being able to provide our athletes with the opportunity to move on to whatever level they would like to is the greatest component over the last years.”
Bartoshyk takes over the position from Craig Cripps, who held the title of league commissioner since 2006 prior to his contract expiring at the end of the 2012-13 regular season. Following the AJHL post-season, the new commissioner’s to-do-list will be headed by a survey of the health of the 16 organizations in the league.
“It’s really getting an understanding of where our teams are at both on an off the ice,” Bartoshyk said. “And having very intimate conversations with them and frank and honest discussions about what they need to be viable and areas we need to improve on as a league.”
The news of Bartoshyk’s appointment was applauded in the foothills.
Okotoks Oilers president Wayne Lauinger said the Okotokian was an excellent choice as the new commissioner.
“We’ve been a supporter of Ryan’s right from the outset,” Lauinger said. “He’s brought us a long way in terms of branding and marketing. He’s a hard working individual and he’s a person who played in the league, went to university from the league, is an Albertan and knows and is aware of all the hardships the league has.”
Bartoshyk, who earned a master’s degree in sports administration at the University of Ottawa following his junior hockey career, said the state of the Okotoks Oilers as a franchise has improved dramatically in the past 12 months.
“They’ve really stepped up their product as far as how they’re operating off the ice. They’ve made the necessary adjustments to ensure financially that they’re viable and they’re working hard within the community to promote the game,” Bartoshyk said. “On the ice you can feel the momentum building within this club and they’ve had an outstanding last couple weeks and last month here.
“I look forward to seeing them in the playoff season here.”