The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has gone outside of hockey to find its next women's league commissioner.
Jennifer Flowers was announced Monday as the new WCHA vice president and women's commissioner. She has spent the last three years as the assistant commissioner for membership services as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
When she starts with the WCHA in July, Flowers will replace Katie Million, who left to direct USA Hockey's women's programs.
Flowers, a former assistant women's basketball and volleyball coach, is part of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules Committee. She's also the co-chair of the Minnesota Coalition for Women in Athletic Leadership and is a mentor in the Women Leaders in College Sports program.
She was associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Winona State, her alma mater, from 2012 to 2015 after a previous stint at the school from 2006 to 2009.
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She has a family connection to the Madison area: Her husband, Jonte, is a former Madison La Follette standout athlete who for one season was a football walk-on at the University of Wisconsin. He transferred to Winona State to play Division II basketball, winning two NCAA titles.
The WCHA has produced 16 of 19 NCAA champions since 2001 — including the Badgers last season — but faces challenges in membership and funding.
The league has played with seven teams since North Dakota dropped the sport, citing budget woes, in 2017. The league has shown interest in adding an eighth member but Million said last year that it wasn't a must.
Northern Michigan, a member of the WCHA men's league, has completed a feasibility study on adding a varsity women's team and would be a fit for the women's league if it decides to make the jump.
Under Million, the WCHA also sought help from fans to decrease team dues through a crowdfunding site.