When Keith Barrett stepped into his role as vice president of USA Hockey and Youth Council chair on Jan. 19 of this year, he was hoping for a traditional honeymoon period to get established.
Needless to say, that didn’t happen. With COVID-19 sweeping its way into the United States, Barrett was involved in making the difficult decision in mid-March to cancel the youth national championships. It was baptism by fire for Barrett in one of the lead volunteer roles at USA Hockey.
USA Hockey had to fill the vacant seat for vice president/Youth Council chair when longtime USA Hockey volunteer Dave Klasnick, who held the position for 13 years, passed away in August 2019.
Since Barrett had been on the Youth Council as a New England District representative for eight years, he was a prime candidate to take on an expanded role and he received plenty of support from his USA Hockey peers.
“Keith Barrett has done a terrific job out of the gate in a difficult situation,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “His leadership style is one of quiet strength. He has a depth of past experience which includes being the president of an affiliate, working in player development, national championships, coaching education as well as still being an on-ice official. Keith’s closeness to the grassroots of our organization has certainly helped him in his leadership abilities. I look forward to working with Keith for many years to come.”
“I don’t know everything. I don’t have the answers to everything. But collectively, we’re going to work to come up with the solutions, come up with the answers,” Barrett said. “So, my leadership style is, OK, let’s get some critical thinkers in here, let’s think about what needs to be done and let’s put our minds together. We’re all equals at the table. I don’t care if I’m the chair or not, we’re all equal at the table.”