John Collins denies he's leaving NHL

NHL chief operation officer John Collins denied rumors that he was considering leaving the NHL because he was upset about the lockout.

“Not true,” Collins said in an email to ESPN.com. “No one is/will be happy until we reach a long-term agreement that returns our focus to growing the game/revenues.”

The mastermind behind the Winter Classic, Collins is largely responsible for growing the NHL’s revenues to $3.3 billion in 2011-12. He also guided the launch of the NHL Network in the U.S. and the NHL Network online.

Previously an executive with the NFL and Cleveland Browns, Collins has been with the NHL since 2007 and was promoted to COO in 2008.