|Hockey East Staff|
BRIAN SMITH - ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER
Smith enters his sixth season with the Hockey East Association and third as Associate Commissioner after spending three years as Director of Communications. In this role, he is responsible for all marketing and public and media relations efforts from the league office.
During the summer of 2019, Smith engineered and negotiated Hockey East's first-ever multi-media rights deal, aggregating all Hockey East content within the linear television and digital space. Under the multi-faceted agreement, Hockey East cemented its relationship with NESN as the league's premier television partner while also joining forces with one of the most highly-trafficked streaming services in the country, CBS All Access. With Hockey East's rights centralized, live and on-demand content from the league's 12 member institutions became more accessible to fans across the league, and North America, than ever before.
In his first four years with Hockey East, Smith has revitalized the digital presence of the conference by revamping the league website, HockeyEastOnline.com twice and its social media channels to develop the most heavily followed accounts in college hockey. Smith also served as the main media contact for the 2015 Frozen Four, hosted by Hockey East and the TD Garden, and has assisted in the successful execution of the Friendship Four Tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Frozen Fenway events.
Smith has been involved with numerous other endeavors during his time with Hockey East, including assisting with NCAA Ice Hockey Officiating Department programs, serving on the media relations team at Frozen Four, directing the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, aiding with the media operations of the American Hockey Coaches Association, and serving as Assistant Venue Press Officer for Gillette Stadium during the 2016 Copa América Centenario.
Prior to joining the conference in July 2014, Smith spent two years with USA Hockey as the Brian Fishman Intern, a prestigious program that develops young professionals in the athletic communications business. Dividing his time with USA Hockey between the national office in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the National Team Development Program, then located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Smith traveled extensively while assisting in numerous international tournaments as the main media contact for U.S. national teams. While with the NTDP, Smith served as the main media contact for both the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 teams. Additionally, Smith played an integral role in the execution of the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
Smith also has spent time working with the Boston Bruins and New England Revolution in various roles. With the Bruins from 2010-12, Smith worked alongside a communications staff that received the Dick Dillman Award and was charged with media relations duties during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. With the New England Revolution, Smith oversaw all aspects of the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation and assisted with all match day operations, including international friendlies at Gillette Stadium.
A former high school hockey player at Woburn Memorial High School, Smith is a 2012 graduate of Boston College with a degree in English and Communications. He earned four varsity letters in track and field while competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference during his time with the Eagles.
KATE MCAFEE - ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER
In the spring of 2020, Kate McAfee was named named Associate Commissioner of Hockey East. McAfee currently serves as Associate Athletic Director for Event Management at the University of New Hampshire. She was appointed a member of the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Committee in November 2019.
"I'm thrilled to have Kate join the Hockey East staff. She brings great experience with all facets of college hockey as well as strong relationships throughout the league and the entire NCAA," said incoming Hockey East Commissioner Steve Metcalf. "Kate brings plenty of championship acumen, having been the championship director of numerous NCAA Regional and Frozen Four championships."
"I'd like to thank Steve Metcalf for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a strong and successful league," said McAfee. "I'm excited to utilize my passion of the game for the betterment of Hockey East, its member institutions, and especially the student-athletes, and to have the opportunity to continue to make impactful changes in the college hockey landscape."
She will begin her Hockey East duties later this spring. In her current role, McAfee is the on-site administrator for multiple intercollegiate athletics events at UNH, including men's and women's ice hockey, football, field hockey, men's soccer, and women's lacrosse.
McAfee has extensive experience managing high-visibility hockey collegiate tournaments, as she served as the Tournament Manager for the 2016 NCAA Women's Frozen Four Tournament, Assistant Tournament Manager for the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Regional five times between 2011 and 2019, and was a Quarterfinal Site Representative for the National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Tournament in 2018 and 2019.
"I am excited for Kate to join the leadership group at Hockey East," said Katie Crowley, Head Coach of the Boston College women's ice hockey team "She already has an intimate knowledge of the league, and that, coupled with her administrative experience, ability to connect with people, and her passion for the game will help take our league to new levels."
In addition to her role on the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Committee, McAfee was previously a member of the NCAA Lacrosse Rules Committee from February 2013 to September 2017. She was awarded the President's Cup by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association in November 2018 for her work to promote, develop, and enhance intercollegiate women's lacrosse.
Further, McAfee serves as Chair of the Athletics Committee on Mutual Respect at New Hampshire.
"Kate will be a valuable addition to Hockey East and I am extremely excited that the league has brought her on board," said Scott Borek, Head Coach of the Merrimack men's ice hockey team. "She brings a great enthusiasm to every project she is involved with, and I am certain that her infectious 'can do' perspective will bring that same enthusiasm to the league office."
The Hampton Falls, New Hampshire native was a field hockey and lacrosse letter-winner at Western New England College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History in May 2000.
McAfee earned a Master of Science: Kinesiology Sport Studies degree from the University of New Hampshire in May 2017. Since then, she has been an adjunct instructor for the Department of Recreation Management and Policy.
She currently resides in Hampton Falls with her husband Bryan and their children Amelia and Fiona.
DAVE LEZENSKI - SUPERVISOR OF OFFICIALS
In addition to his role with the WHEA, Lezenski also maintains a large body of work for the NCAA during the men’s and women’s national tournaments, working as a video replay official and assisting with the evaluation of officials for the previous nine seasons.
In his full-time profession as Director of Athletics for Lowell (Mass.) Public Schools, Lezenski is in charge of overseeing the athletic department of the fourth largest public school system in the state of Massachusetts and the second largest public high school east of the Mississippi River. He formerly served as Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Health in Billerica Public Schools for nine years. Lezenski is also actively involved with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Lezenski has been involved with hockey at all levels, playing high school hockey at St. John’s Prep and attending Boston College before moving into the officiating ranks. The former NIHOA and ECAC veteran official has also coached a number of hockey teams throughout his career.
A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Lezenski currently resides in Lowell, Massachusetts.
TIM FLYNN - DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE SALES
In this position, Tim Flynn works directly on behalf of the conference and is responsible for the cultivation and sales of corporate partnerships for Hockey East. He will continue to be based out of the league offices in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Flynn becomes part of the direct league staff after joining Hockey East Sports Properties in 2017. He has brought over 25 years of corporate sales experience across various markets, including over 10 years as a vice president or senior vice president. He has worked with start-up businesses and Fortune 500 companies, including Texas Instruments and Xerox Corporation. Over his career, Flynn has had extensive experience with sales team leadership and development and the construction of promotional and cooperative marketing opportunities.
Flynn skated for the Boston College Eagles from 1973-76 before continuing his career in the professional ranks in Courchevelle, France. After his playing days, Flynn served as the head hockey coach at Bentley University for four seasons from 1980-84 and compiled a 56-32-2 overall record to become the program’s all-time winningest head coach at the time of his departure. He also led the Falcons to the ECAC DIII Playoff Championship in 1981 with a record of 20-1-0.
For the past 25 years, Flynn has served as the manager of the Independent Senior Hockey Organization for former college and professional hockey players. In that role, he coordinated games and tournaments ranging in skill level from college hockey teams to senior national championships and secured various sponsorships from organizations to support the league’s endeavors.
RACHEL THOMSON - GRADUATE INTERN
Rachel Thomson is a 2019 graduate from the University of New Hampshire and majored in Business Administration - Marketing, and minored in Kinesiology. Thomson was a four-year member of the UNH Field Hockey Team, competing in the America East Conference.
At UNH, she worked for the Event Staff and Facilities Management of UNH Athletics. This included behind-the-scenes work, and game day operations of athletic events. Thomson also served as the head coach for the club program at Plex Field Hockey, and has coached at various summer field hockey camps and clinics while also offering private lessons.
Serving as a summer intern for Hockey East in 2018, Thomson found a true interest in sports administration, specifically within ice hockey. Looking to gain knowledge and experience through the Hockey East Graduate internship, she hopes to pursue a career in athletics. A native of Reading, Massachusetts, Thomson attended Reading High School and lettered in Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Lacrosse.
ANNIE ZAMPITELLA - GRADUATE INTERN
Annie Zampitella recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts where she earned her degree in Sport Management from the Isenberg School of Management. She is the first UMass alumni to join the Hockey East graduate assitant program.
During her time at UMass, Zampitella served as Secretary of the McCormack Student Leaders Club, a student-run organization dedicated to networking and gaining hands-on experience in the sport industry. She also served as the head manager for the UMass Women's Basketball team where she worked directly with coaches, players, and staff in daily operations and traveling.
Outside of UMass, Zampitella spent her summers working in collegiate and minor league baseball and her winters volunteering with Hockey East at events such as Frozen Fenway and the Hockey championship weekend at TD Garden.
She is excited to follow her passion and continue her career working in the hockey industry.
History of Hockey East's Intern Program
1st season - 2006-07: Scott Donnelly (Providence); now Assoc. Athletic Director at Fordham
2nd season - 2007-08: Andrew Bartlett (Providence); now working at Boston College
3rd season - 2008-09: Elizabeth Fierman (Boston University); worked as SID at UMass-Lowell, now working at ESPN
4th season - 2009-10: Stephanie Bambury (St. Mike's grad, but worked at Vermont as a jr & sr); also did an internship with Red Sox after HE; now Assistant Athletic Director at Arizona State University
5th season - 2010-11: Greg Rosa (Boston College); now Director of Marketing for Manchester (NH) Monarchs (ECHL Hockey)
6th season - 2011-12: Andrew Zagorianakos (Maine); now Equipment Manager at Providence
7th season - 2012-13: Kristen Blake (Northeastern); now working in insurance industry
8th season - 2013-14: Mike Brown (Northeastern); now working at NESN; also Communications Game Night Staff for Boston Bruins
9th season - 2014-15: Keagan Gallagher (Vermont); now working at Boston College Men's Hockey - And Andrew Veneziano (Boston College); now working in real estate
10th season - 2015-16: Suzanne Friedman (Vermont/Northeastern); now working at Kraft Group - And Justin Martino (Connecticut); now in law school
11th season - 2016-17: Geoff Dion (Merrimack) and Ryan Smith (Boston College)
12th season - 2017-18: Meghan Pflieger (New Hampshire) and Carolyn Stacey (New Hampshire)
13th season - 2018-19: Marisa Maccario (UConn) and Emily Lissner (Holy Cross)
14th season - 2019-20: Rachel Thomson (UNH) and Annie Zampitella (UMass)