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NA coach named PIHL commissioner

| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 7:04 p.m.

For 30 years, Jim Black has been part of the high school hockey scene in Western Pennsylvania as a player or coach.

Now, he will take on a new role as the man in charge.

The PIHL executive board appointed the North Allegheny coach as its new commissioner, effective Sept. 1.

“Obviously, I'm excited for the opportunity,” Black said. “(High school hockey) is something I've been around a long time. I'm excited to be involved in a different manner.”

After playing at North Catholic and a prep school in Michigan, Black, 47, began as an assistant at Beaver, where he helped the team to the 1991 state title.

He continued with head coaching stints at North Hills, Pitt, Pine-Richland and NA, winning a pair of state titles with the Tigers and another at Pine-Richland.

He also has coached several amateur programs and owns DekStar, a dek hockey facility in the North Hills.

“We liked the fact that he's experienced and has been involved in high school hockey,” PIHL board president Bob Sebastian said. “We certainly thought he had all the qualifications necessary to be commissioner.”

Black will take over a league in transition. The PIHL has made changes with its alignment in the offseason to help increase competitive balance.

There will only be 12 teams in Class AAA, instead of 16. Class AA will have two conferences of seven teams, and Class A will have 18 teams broken into two tiers with two conferences.

The former Open Class is now known as Division II and will feature only co-op programs and schools that have a second varsity team.

“We have a new formula to classify teams,” said Black, who was a member of the executive board last year. “We're anxious to see what the end is on that and how they compete.”

Bill Hartlep is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bhartlep@tribweb.com.

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