Robison named WHL commissioner

Ron Robison is the new commissioner of the Western Hockey League.

The WHL board of governors announced its unanimous support for Robison to succeed outgoing commissioner Dev Dley on Tuesday.

His appointment is effective come Friday.

"I am very excited at this prospect, and look forward to working with each of the 18 teams and building upon the progress made in recent years in the league," Robison said.

Robison is well-versed in the business of hockey, presiding over his own sports marketing firm the past three years.

Previous to that, he spent 12 years working for the Canadian Hockey Association in a number of capacities.

"Ron brings with him qualities that we feel will help the league and its member teams to grow and develop," said Bruce Hamilton, WHL chairman of the board.

It was a perceived lack of growth and development that prompted the board not to renew Dley's contract in June.

Dley was hired in January 1996 to replace Ed Chynoweth, who stepped down after 24 years to assume control of the Kootenay Ice, but his unassuming style proved to be his downfall.

Compared to the charismatic Chynoweth, Dley's reserved approach was less appealing to those seeking a stronger voice for the WHL within the Canadian Hockey League.

The eloquent Robison should help in that regard, while Dley has agreed to stay on as league counsel.

The WHL extends from Brandon, Man., to Kennewick, Wash., with a Vancouver franchise scheduled to sign on in 2001.