Paul Kelly was given a choice Monday to resign or be fired as executive director of College Hockey Inc., sources said, and he chose the former.

An erosion of trust in Kelly from the commissioners of college hockey’s five Division I men’s leagues led them to end Kelly’s two-plus-year term leading the promotional and marketing group.

The announcement was made Monday afternoon by the Hockey Commissioners Association, which controls College Hockey Inc.

Sources described a falling out between the commissioners and Kelly that had been a while in the making, based on a difference of opinions on College Hockey Inc.’s scope.

But the final straw, the sources said, was Kelly recently approaching athletic directors from some ECAC Hockey schools about meeting to give College Hockey Inc. a more leading role in the administration of Division I men’s hockey.

Kelly could not immediately be reached for comment. In a text message to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun posted on the broadcaster’s website, Kelly said: “Time to move on. I told them I’d give them 2-3 years to get the entity established and operational. It’s been 28 months and it’s time for a new challenge.”

“The HCA would like to thank Paul for his service to CHI and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Steve Hagwell, Hockey Commissioners Association president and ECAC Hockey commissioner, said in a statement.

The commissioners group also said in the statement that it expects to discuss a “different course” for the executive director position. A replacement for Kelly was not immediately announced.

Kelly, the former executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association, was hired in November 2009 by the commissioners to run College Hockey Inc.

College Hockey Inc. was formed by the commissioners as a central marketing vehicle for college hockey. It is funded in part by a grant from the NHL through USA Hockey.

  • Keebs11

    Still don’t know what the hell this guy and this organization does? ¬†Obviously it’s money well spent.

    • icelund

      College Hockey Inc does exactly what the article says that it does.¬† It’s a “marketing vehicle college hockey.” They promote the game, they spread the word among college-eligible recruits, things like that.

  • icelund

    So it was a power grab, more or less? The league is all for it when the promoters are standing on the sidelines, but when they actually want to actively shape the game the AD’s step back.

  • Toronto_1066

    And their chief ‘marketing’ is to combat the “propaganda” of Major Junior hockey that aims to convince young players (15 years old) that Junior Hockey is all about education and that NHL contracts are guaranteed for all. College Hockey Inc has done some good work in Canada getting the NCAA “message” (legitimate student-athletics) to minor hockey players by holding various conferences aimed at both parents and young players. I don’t know if will make a huge difference as it’s probably hard to measure — but NCAA Hockey is hemorrhaging talent in both the United States and Canada to Major Junior. It’s a big issue.