MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Todd Bell joined the WCHA in January 2019 from the athletics communications office at the University of Alabama, where he worked with the Crimson Tide football track & field and women's golf programs from 2016-18.
A media relations and press operations expert with nearly 30 years of experience at the collegiate, professional and international levels, Bell's resume features a broad base of event work that includes the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Stanley Cup playoffs, Super Bowl XLV, three NCAA Final Fours and the College Football Playoff.
Prior to his time at Alabama, Bell worked with several high-profile organizations, including the American Football Coaches Association, USA Football, USA Rugby and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl from 1994-2016. During that span he also served as a press operations volunteer for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee at the 2002 Winter Olympics and a press officer for the United States Olympic Committee at the 2006 and 2008 Games.
Bell's base of hockey experience includes more than a decade of work with the Dallas Stars in game-night press operations from 2003-15 during which time he assisted with numerous Stanley Cup playoff rounds and the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.
The West Des Moines, Iowa, native is a 1988 graduate of the University of St. Thomas.
OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER
Dean Thibodeau joined the WCHA Office as Operations and Administration Manager in July 2018 following eight seasons in various operations roles with a trio of WCHA member institutions and a stint at Twin Cities-based Cargill. In his current role, Thibodeau manages the Association budget, accounting and payroll, vendor contracts and Association Office operations, while serving as director for the men’s postseason tournament and the women’s WCHA Final Faceoff championship.
A WCHA veteran, Thibodeau most recently served a two-year stint as the director of women’s hockey operations at the University of Minnesota (2015-17), overseeing all non-coaching aspects of the program – including budgeting, video and travel planning – as the Golden Gophers won the 2016 national championship and advanced to the 2017 Frozen Four. Prior to joining the Minnesota staff, he spent the 2014-15 season on the other side of the “Border Battle” as the men’s and women’s video coordinator at the University of Wisconsin.
Thibodeau began his career with the St. Cloud State University women’s hockey program as an undergraduate, advancing from video duties his first season to extensive involvement in operations, team travel, video, creative services and game management during the 2013-14 campaign. He also spent the summer of 2011 as an intern with USA Hockey, returning to assist in future years with operations and video coordination at several international tournaments. While at Cargill, Thibodeau served as an associate credit analyst, building upon his four years (2007-11) as an accounting assistant for his father, a Certified Public Accountant based in Connecticut.
Upon his arrival to the State of Hockey in 2008, the Connecticut native earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SCSU. Thibodeau and his fiancée, Hannah, currently reside in Minnetonka, Minn.
SUPERVISOR OF OFFICIALS
One of the most experienced and respected ice hockey officials and supervisors in college hockey, Greg Shepherd enters his 40th season with the WCHA – and 26th as Supervisor of Officials – in 2018-19. The longest-tenured officials’ supervisor in college hockey, Shepherd began in the role with the WCHA Men’s League in 1992 and has served in that capacity since the inception of the WCHA Women’s League in 1999.
Known for being an excellent instructor who stresses the importance of proper and open communication with players and coaches, Shepherd is responsible for identifying, training, developing and sustaining the WCHA officiating staff. Under his tutelage, several men’s and women’s officials have received prominent postseason assignments – including his sons Derek and Brad, each of whom have worked NCAA Frozen Fours.
Shepherd’s commitment to hockey has spanned more than 40 years and five decades on and off the ice. After beginning as a youth hockey official, he worked his way up to the collegiate level and debuted with the WCHA in 1978. Shepherd spent 14 years as an on-ice official with the league, working in 10 NCAA Men’s Frozen Fours during that time.
A veteran, Shepherd served in the United States Navy from 1967-69. He also worked for Northern States Power Company for 35 years, while serving his community on the West Saint Paul City Council for four years.
Shepherd and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 47 years. Greg and Nancy are parents to three children (Derek, Tiffany and Brad) and are proud grandparents to Austyn, Madison, Cameron, Lauren, Gabby, Anthony, Joe and Ryan.
COMMUNICATIONS & OPERATIONS INTERN
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, through President and Men's Commissioner Bill Robertson and Vice-President and Women's Commissioner Jennifer Flowers, announced Sept. 3, 2019 that Jane Horvat has been named the WCHA's Communications & Operations Intern.
Horvat joins the WCHA after working as an athletic communications assistant at the University of Minnesota where she served as the primary sport contact for the Golden Gophers' women's soccer, women's gymnastics and men's and women's swimming and diving programs during the 2018-19 season. She managed all media relations and social media for the aforementioned programs and oversaw promotion of 2019 NCAA Women's 1-Meter Diving champion Sarah Bacon and the 2019 NCAA Women's Gymnastics All-Around runner-up Lexy Ramler.
She previously worked in the University of Notre Dame's athletic communications office from 2014-2018, writing for the Fighting Irish's print and web publications and leading the students working with the men's ice hockey and women's volleyball programs.
The Rockford, Ill. native graduated with a BA from the University of Notre Dame in 2018. Horvat began her duties on Sept. 3 and will serve in the position through April 30, 2020.