Steven Dykeman, left, has been announced as the new president of the Maritime Junior Hockey league. Dave Ritcey, right, is stepping away as interim president and chairman of the board of governors. Submitted photo

TRURO – The Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) has a new president.

The league has hired Steven Dykeman to the position. He takes over the role immediately.

Dave Ritcey, who was filling in as interim president, said the search for a new president took two-and-a-half months, with a number of “outstanding” applicants.

“Steven Dykeman brings the ability, experience, and innovation we sought through his career in business as well as holding senior management and leadership roles,” said Ritcey, in a press release. “The product on the ice and the overall player and fan experience will continue to improve and remain a focus, in addition to the business of junior hockey in the Maritimes.”

Born in Saint John, N.B., Dykeman graduated from Dalhousie University in 1991 and began a 16-year career with Andrew Peller Ltd. where he served as director of sales for Eastern Canada and then Western Canada. He returned to the Maritimes with his family in 2007 and moved on to similar positions at companies such as Molson Coors Canada and Irving Equipment Ltd. where his proven track record continued. The 50-year-old was responsible for growing top line sales revenues in excess of $70 million in a variety of industries including consumer packaged goods, technology, construction and equipment services, as well as executive recruitment and human resources consulting.

Dykeman is excited to get started and begin meeting all of the key stakeholders.

“The MHL is a league with a long history and a bright future,” he said. “By embracing development, innovation and advancement, we aspire to be known as the premiere Junior A League in Canada.”

His first event as president will be at the league’s annual general meeting and entry draft in Edmundston, N.B., June 14-15.

With Dykeman taking over as president, Ritcey is stepping down as both chairman of the board of governors and interim president. Ritcey joined the MHL as vice-president in 2008 and held the position for seven years. Since 2015, he’s held various leadership roles within the league including as president, board chairman, and twice as interim president.

“During my involvement, I was part of the rebranding to the MHL, which was a critical start in a much-needed change towards the future of the league, to today developing a brand statement and identity for the league,” said Ritcey.

That continued even further with a change in 2015 when the league introduced the Pay To Play model.

“We have created the foundation of a sustainable model for the teams and league moving forward for years to come. Now I feel it’s time to balance things out with moving the business forward. The MHL is on the cusp of doing something great and the importance of working together as a collaborative group will need to be the mandate. For me, personally, the motivation was my passion for the game and league.  I am proud of what we have done over my 11 years and I look forward to seeing where the league can go.”