Wednesday November 25th, 2015

NHL executive John Collins, who has been the league’s chief operating officer since 2008, is resigning “to pursue a new business opportunity,” the league announced Tuesday.

Collins, 54, is credited with leading the charge in creating the Winter Classic, the NHL’s now-annual New Year’s Day outdoor game. 

“John leaves a lasting mark,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Collins also helped negotiate television rights deals with NBC and with Rogers Communications in Canada, and a seven-year sponsorship deal with Coors. 

“I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years,” Collins said in a statement. “He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be. The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League's successes to come on the global stage.”

Collins joined the NHL in 2006 and was promoted to COO in August 2008.

- Dan Gartland

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