ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Golf executive Tod Leiweke was hired Friday as the first president of the Minnesota Wild, the NHL's latest expansion team.

Leiweke, 39, had been executive director of First Tee, the charitable arm of the World Golf Foundation, which includes the PGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America, the LPGA and Augusta National.

``Tod has a very successful background in building professional sports organizations,'' Wild chief executive officer Jac Sperling said. ``He brings an enthusiasm for the sport of hockey and will provide great leadership for the Minnesota Wild as we continue to prepare for the NHL's return in the new St. Paul Arena.''

Leiweke spent three seasons as executive vice president of Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he was responsible for overseeing the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies, the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and the 20,000-seat General Motors Place.

Leiweke also held front office jobs with the Golden State Warriors from 1987-1991 and again in 1994, and with the Houston Rockets in 1993. Before his stint with the Rockets he was vice president of marketing for the PGA Tour.