The Elite Ice Hockey League are delighted to announce Michael Hicks as the new Director of Operations.

Michael is well known to fans as a referee in the Elite League, but moves into a brand new role that sees him take on tasks relating to the general running of operations off the ice.

And he’s thrilled to be taking on what promises to be a challenging role with the aim of improving procedures and processes.

“There are a lot of exciting things going on with the league right now and I’m delighted to be appointed to the role of Director of Hockey Operations,” he said.

“For years, we’ve seen so many complaints and suggestions about how things are done in the league and having taken some of those on board, I aim to help and improve some of the procedures we have in place.

“I’ve already had a number of discussions with General Manager, the Board, the media team and many others about ways of taking the ideas we’ve had forward.

“Certain changes will take a little bit of time to implement and be fully functional, but they will help things work better than previously.

“I want to thank Kim Pedersen and the federation for everything they’ve done for me in preparing me for this role and I wish them well for the future.

“After working in Denmark’s Ishockey Union as the officiating manager for the last three years, including at this year’s IIHF World Men’s Championship in Copenhagen and Herning where I was the Sports Venue Manager, I had to ensure the hockey operations of the event organising committee and the games went to plan.

“To that end, I also want to extend my gratitude to the EIHL chairman, Tony Smith and the rest of the board for allowing me this opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with everyone in due course.”

The role of Director of Hockey Operations includes overseeing all aspects of the league’s hockey operations department and support other league initiatives.

He will act as first level response for all Media, General Managers, EIHL Board and coach inquiries as well as management of the EIHL’s officiating program, in conjunction with the IHUK Referee Section, chairing the league’s Department of Player Safety process, oversight and management of the EIHL statistics department and the off-ice officials across the league.

Hicks, 37, has been an on-ice official for 21 years and has worked at the top levels in Denmark and in the Elite League, becoming one of the country’s most experienced officials.

This experience took him all the way through the ranks at the IIHF to one of the top level, where he has officiated at the IIHF World Championships.

Elite League chairman Tony Smith is delighted to welcome Mike to the fold full time and revealed why he was the man for the job.

“When we decided to bring in a Director of Hockey Operations, we needed someone with knowledge and understanding of the game in our country and that’s why Mike stood out for us as a candidate,” he said. 

“He’s been an on-ice official for a long time and has worked behind the scenes in a variety of roles so the attributes he has made him stand out to become our new Director of Hockey Operations.

“Mike has already spoken to us at length about his ideas and what he’s looking to achieve long term and we’re all excited at what he wants to do in helping to improve the procedures and processes in place.

“We welcome Mike on board as we get ready for another exciting season in the Elite League.”