In 1955, he helped start the Central Hockey League, which turned into one of the few successful minor professional hockey leagues of that era. In 1960, he organized and promoted a semi-pro Northwestern League consisting of 6 teams in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska sanctioned under the auspices of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS), and that included several former college players, including Doug Woog of the University of Minnesota who played for both St. Paul and Lincoln, and Canadian center Billy Colpitts of the University of North Dakota who played for Sioux City. Also skating one season for the Sioux City Eagles was 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Owen. This league was notable for the fact that it was responsible for developing a very strong fan base in the host cities of Edina, St. Paul, Omaha, Sioux City and Lincoln, many of which subsequently became the homes of the oldest franchises in the United States Hockey League's (USHL) Western Division. He was also instrumental in bringing National Hockey League hockey to his home state with the Minnesota North Stars as a minority owner. As the president of USA Hockey for nearly two decades, he was instrumental in the efforts which brought women's hockey into the Olympic program in 1998. He assumed in June 2003 the position of USA Hockey's chairman of the board, a position he was still holding in May 2009.
He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980 and later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000. He was awarded the Olympic Order in 2002, and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2009.
- "Olympic Order Awarded to Hockey Celebrities". IOC. February 19, 2002. Retrieved 19 December 2011.