ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER FOR MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
A seasoned communications professional, Matt Hodson is in his fifth season as the WCHA Associate Commissioner for Marketing and Communications. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the Association’s external and internal communications, branding and marketing strategies.
Prior to joining the WCHA, Hodson accumulated a wealth of experience with a Major League Baseball franchise, a Directors’ Cup-winning Division I athletic department, a tier I public research university and a nationally renowned public relations firm.
Hodson was with the San Francisco Giants media relations staff from 2001-08, playing a key role in the club’s communications surrounding Barry Bonds’ home run record chases in 2001 and 2007, along with media relations support for jewel events such as the 2002 World Series, the 2003 National League Division Series and the 2007 All-Star Game. His time in collegiate athletics includes a stint as Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director at Stanford University, where Hodson worked with Cardinal football along with the school’s nationally-ranked baseball and women’s swimming and diving teams.
Hodson also served in the central communications office at the University of Minnesota, providing strategic counsel and public relations support for the Office of the President, the Board of Regents and other administrative units. Most recently, he developed communications initiatives for a range of clients at Carmichael Lynch Relate, a Minneapolis-based public relations agency.
A native of Sacramento, Calif., Matt graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in communications. Matt and his wife, Betsey, reside in the Twin Cities area with their two children.
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.