While bringing unique backgrounds and perspectives to the table, the three new members of the USA Hockey Foundation Board of Directors share one thing for certain — their undying love for the game.
Stan Hubbard, Bryant McBride and Ellen Weinberg-Hughes offer plenty of talent to the Foundation, the non-profit philanthropic arm of USA Hockey that “provides long-range financial support for USA Hockey and promotes the growth of hockey in the United States.”
“It’s great to welcome Bryant, Ellen and Stan,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey and The USA Hockey Foundation. “Their varied experience and perspective bring significant benefit to our mission of providing sustainable support for USA Hockey. We’re extremely grateful to our entire Board, all who volunteer their talent and time to help further hockey across the country.”
If participation numbers are any indication, the game is quite healthy with current USA Hockey participation numbers now exceeding those prior to the pandemic.
“The Foundation has done such a tremendous job growing the game of hockey across our country,” Weinberg-Hughes said. “And I really look forward to helping them continue to grow the great game of hockey that I’m so passionate about.”
Hubbard wholeheartedly agreed that hockey continues to thrive in the U.S.
“The proof is in the pudding, right?” Hubbard said. “Hockey is pretty successful in the U.S. I’m coming in with an open mind, not my own agenda, but to jump in and understand more of the history and understand more of the current direction and figure out where my voice can weigh in the best and be an appropriate influence.”
McBride said he was excited to join the board and be part of the sport’s growth.
“I’m very excited about it because there’s so much opportunity to be had. The game is evolving,” McBride said. “The game is becoming more inclusive and more diverse, and I’m excited to play a part in that.”
The work is apparently not done either. McBride sees USA Hockey expanding its impact in the near future.
“As much as it is growing, I think there is amazing potential for upside, for further growth,” he said. “I’m just so bullish on what this game does for kids and families, people. To contribute to that a little bit is a real honor.”
The Foundation’s board includes 17 members and the diverse group includes, among others, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos Jr., and U.S. Olympic gold medalist A.J. Mleczko Griswold.
All three new board members have had successful careers of their own.
Hubbard is CEO of REELZ, a leading independent cable and satellite general entertainment network. He is also chairman and CEO of Hubbard Media Group, a subsidiary of Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.
Previously, Hubbard was president and CEO of U.S. Satellite Broadcasting.
A Minneapolis-St. Paul native, Hubbard played hockey from youth through juniors. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
“I’ve been involved with hockey my whole life, and certainly all my adult life I’ve tried to give back to the game,” Hubbard said. “This is another opportunity to give back a little more.”
He and his family own and operate the Outpost Ice Arena and the New Mexico Ice Wolves NAHL and NA3HL hockey teams.
“It’s really two different views of the hockey world, and I’m hoping I can bring a little perspective and think I can bring some business sense,” Hubbard said. “Not that the board needs it, but hopefully I bring a little bit of that, too.”
Hubbard’s children continue to play hockey.
“I have a son playing juniors this year in the NA3HL, and I have a son that plays sled hockey, and I have a first-year bantam,” he said. “I’m still involved as a pretty active hockey parent, too.”
Weinberg-Hughes has her own extensive experience in the game. She helped the University of New Hampshire to three ECAC championships. While pursuing a graduate degree at UNH, she served as assistant coach with the team.
She was an alternate captain on the U.S. team that earned a silver medal at the 1992 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Weinberg-Hughes was an advisor to the Norway women’s hockey team in 1994.
Weinberg-Hughes then went on to a successful sports broadcasting career that included covering women’s hockey for the CBC at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998.
Weinberg-Hughes is married to Jim Hughes, who played hockey at Providence College and coached in the college and professional ranks. Their three sons are all exceptional players: Quinn is with the Vancouver Canucks; Jack, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, plays for the New Jersey Devils; and Luke skates with the University of Michigan and was selected fourth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Devils.
“At the end of the day, two generations of my family have benefited from USA Hockey,” Weinberg-Hughes said. “Super honored to join an organization that has accomplished so much and excited to give back to an organization that has given so much to me and my family.”
Weinberg-Hughes said she hopes to apply her ability to connect with people.
“I think, through this great game, I’ve met so many interesting people from all walks of life,” she said. “I’d like to think that by being part of the Board, I can reach out to them and use my connections to continue to grow this great game and support everybody’s efforts.”
While she has ideas to offer, those can wait.
“The first year is going to be listening and learning,” Weinberg-Hughes said. “There are so many great people on the board. I’m super excited because I really think that there’s areas that hopefully I can really help them with.”
A successful entrepreneur throughout his career, McBride is currently cofounder and CEO of Burst.com. He became the NHL’s first Black executive when he served as the league’s vice president of business development from 1991-2000.
McBride helped create the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, now known as Hockey is for Everyone. In 2019, he produced the award-winning documentary “Willie” about Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first Black player.
An all-conference hockey player at Trinity College, McBride has maintained close ties to the game.
“I hope to bring a lot of experience, a lot of lived experience, first and foremost as a player, now as a [hockey] dad, as an administrator in USA Hockey for many, many years,” McBride said, “and as someone who cares deeply about the game, who wants to see the game flourish and get to the next level and include everyone.”
“I’m all about inclusion. It really matters. The majority of people in North America by 2044 will be visible minorities. It is our duty to get ahead of that for the growth and well-being of this sport. We have to make everyone feel welcome. It’s imperative,” McBride said.