Kevin Acklin, former Peduto chief of staff, to become Penguins exec
The Penguins on Monday announced the hiring of Kevin Acklin as senior vice president and general counsel.
Acklin, 42, of Point Breeze was formerly chief of staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and was a key player for the city as the team worked to redevelop the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.
Acklin will replace Penguins’ chief operating officer and general counsel Travis Williams, who has accepted a job with another NHL team, according to team CEO and President David Morehouse. Acklin will be responsible for the Penguins’ legal affairs and development of the former arena site.
“I think we’re fortunate to have an opportunity to have someone like Kevin come on board,” Morehouse said. “I think with his experience and his connections to the community and Pittsburgh, he’s a natural for the Penguins.”
Acklin left his city position late last year to take a job as chief legal officer for Peoples Natural Gas. He grew up in Pittsburgh’s South Oakland neighborhood and is a graduate of Central Catholic High School, Harvard University and Georgetown University Law School.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity here,” Acklin said. “It’s a chance to expand my legal expertise in working with the team but also the community in pursuing and completing the 28-acre development. I love the city, and I love the game of hockey.”
Acklin, who serves as chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority board of directors, said he will step down from that position at the authority’s next meeting on Thursday. He said he could have kept the position and abstained on URA votes involving the Penguins but decided to resign to avoid any appearance of conflict.
Peduto said he plans to appoint a new board member shortly. The appointment is subject to City Council approval. The URA board must vote on a new chairman.
The mayor said Acklin informed him of the move Sunday. The two met years ago while playing pickup hockey at Schenley Park and share the same love of the game, Peduto said. He said he had no fear that Acklin’s job with the Penguins would create perceptions of a conflict.
“I think it has sort of the opposite effect,” Peduto said. “He’s able to bring the city’s perspective on these opportunities to the Penguins, and he comes with four years of first-hand knowledge of all the issues that we had worked together on. Being able to work directly with Kevin on these issues will expedite the process and assure that we meet the goals of the community.”