The ECHL announced today that Joe Ernst has been promoted to Vice President of Hockey Operations and Jeff Zavatsky will assume additional responsibilities in his role as Director of Hockey Operations. Ernst replaces former Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murray, who has accepted a similar position with the American Hockey League.
Ernst is in his 21st season with the ECHL. He was Director of Officiating for the previous two seasons after serving two years as the assistant director. Ernst worked 16 seasons as on-ice official in the ECHL, the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League. He was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame as the first inductee in the Referee/Linesman category in 2011. Ernst will continue to oversee the on-ice officials in his role as Vice President of Hockey Operations.
"Joe has dedicated his entire working life to the ECHL," said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. "His knowledge of the league, his on-ice training and subsequent front office experience make him an ideal candidate to lead our hockey operation."
Zavatsky is his third season with the ECHL after serving as the Manager of Hockey Operations for the previous two seasons. In his expanded role, he will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the ECHL Hockey Operations Department. He will continue to be responsible for the organization and release of team rosters, salary cap, player background and immigration matters while also overseeing all transactions and ongoing relations with the PHPA and other leagues.
"Jeff has experience at both the team and League Office and has demonstrated the ability to take on these significant new requirements," McKenna said.
Murray was with the ECHL for three seasons, including serving as Vice President of Hockey Operations for the previous two seasons. He was responsible for all aspects of the League's hockey operations department, including on-ice discipline, officiating, ECHL central registry and administration, serving as the league contact with the Professional Hockey Players' Association and interaction with other leagues on hockey matters.
With the AHL, he replaces former ECHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Rod Pasma, who has accepted a position in the hockey operations department of the National Hockey League in Toronto.