TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that longtime Ontario Hockey League (OHL) commissioner and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) executive David Branch will retire following the 2023-24 season.
The OHL will make the official announcement this afternoon.
Branch has been involved in hockey for decades. He served as Secretary-Manager of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) from 1973 to 1977 and held the position of Executive Director of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) until 1979. He joined the OHL in 1979 as commissioner and has been head of the league for the last 44 years.
“Earlier this summer, I advised the OHL Board of Governors of my intent to retire at the end of the 2023-2024 season, my 45th year,” said OHL commissioner David Branch. “There are many people to thank, and I look forward to doing that in person over the coming year.
“It has been an honour to serve in this capacity, and I am very thankful for the great deal of support I have received and the tremendous, life-long friendships I have made along the way. I want to thank my family, the Board of Governors, league and team staff, fans, volunteers, on and off-ice officials, media, our partners and most importantly, the players for making the last 44 years so rewarding. I am grateful.”
Under his leadership, the OHL has seen growth in its league from 12 to 20 teams and has produced some of the greatest players in NHL history. Branch has taken the lead on a number of player safety campaigns, including anti-violence and mental health.
Alongside his OHL responsibility, Branch was named CHL President in 1996. He oversaw the operations of three leagues (OHL, QMJHL, WHL) and a total of 60 teams throughout Canada and several American states. Branch spearheaded several annual events to enhance junior hockey in Canada, including the CHL Top Prospects Game and the Canada-Russia Challenge exhibition series. He resigned in 2019, handing over the duties to Dan MacKenzie.