The B.C. Hockey League announced Thursday that former Vancouver Canucks executive Chris Hebb is the league’s new commissioner.
Effective immediately, Hebb will succeed John Grisdale in the office of commissioner, ending the longest tenure in league history. Grisdale oversaw the Junior A ice hockey league from 2003 to 2018, during which time the league saw unprecedented growth and success, with 67 players drafted into the NHL, including Kyle Turris and Justin Schultz. The BCHL also saw a surge during the Grisdale era in the numbers of players committed to college, including a league-record 152 players this year alone.
Continuing that growth, as well as steering the BCHL into the digital age, will be a top priority for Hebb.
“We are confident with Chris’s background and experience that he is the right person to take our league into a new era,” said Graham Fraser, the chairman of the BCHL board of governors, in a news release. “During the search process, Chris separated himself from the group of applicants not only with his resume but also with his ideas for taking the BCHL to even greater heights. We are extremely happy to have him on board.”
In accepting the position, Hebb praised the BCHL’s reputation and its growth as a league.
“I’m pleased to continue the good work that’s been done, to give young men a platform to grow as hockey players and a path to a great career,” he said. “But, I also look forward to helping our 17 teams raise their profile, increase league revenues and solidify our position as the best Junior A hockey league in North America.”
Hebb, who hails from Prince Rupert, has worked in sports management for decades.
Most recently, Hebb served as President of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., a company advising sports organizations on business strategy and development. Clients included Canada Soccer, Oilers Entertainment Group, USports, Vancouver Whitecaps, Hockey Canada, Curling Canada and BCLC.
Before that, Hebb worked in the front offices of two of Canada’s biggest sports and entertainment companies: Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment (OBSE) in Vancouver and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) in Toronto.
As Senior Vice President of Content and Communications for MLSE from 2006 to 2013, Hebb oversaw all broadcast and digital properties for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
Before joining MLSE, Hebb spent 11 years with OBSE, then owners of the Vancouver Canucks, the Vancouver Grizzlies and General Motors Place. As vice-president of Broadcast, Hebb was instrumental in launching Canucks.com in 2001, as well as streaming the first NHL games to ever be viewed online.
Longtime NHLer Rod Brind’Amour, a BCHL parent whose son Skyler Brind’Amour was drafted last summer by the Edmonton Oilers, praised the hire.
“Having known Chris for nearly 25 years, I am happy to see him take on this position and look forward to seeing the league grow under his stewardship,” said the Carolina Hurricanes head coach.
Hebb’s athletic background includes a national title with the University of Victoria Vikings basketball team that was later inducted into the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame.
CLICK HERE to report a typo.
Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.