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AHL announces winners of 04-05 Ellery Awards

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the 2004-05 recipients of the James H. Ellery Memorial Awards, presented annually by the league in recognition of outstanding media coverage of the AHL in three categories.

This year’s winners are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie (in the newspaper category); Hamilton Bulldogs play-by-play broadcaster Derek Wills (radio); and Brendan O’Reilly of WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y. (television).

For the past six seasons, Jonathan Bombulie has provided fans in northeastern Pennsylvania with in-depth articles on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the American Hockey League through his comprehensive weekly columns, game stories both home and on the road, and insightful player and team features. Writing for the Citizens’ Voice and the Scranton Times-Tribune, both published by the Times-Shamrock Group, Bombulie’s stories reach more than 70,000 readers daily. In 2004-05, he also contributed stories to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was a regular guest on Fox Sports Radio 970 in Pittsburgh to discuss the Penguins and the AHL.

The voice of the Hamilton Bulldogs since 2001, Derek Wills has moved the team’s radio presence from a small college station to 820 CHAM, the 50,000-watt home of Bulldogs games for the past three seasons. In 2004-05, Wills reached an agreement with The Team 990 to broadcast more than 70 games on the only all-sports radio station in Montreal, home city of the parent club Canadiens, and also hosted a series of programs entitled Dogs Life, simulcast on radio and television and featuring interviews with players, coaches and executives before live studio audiences. Wills has also contributed greatly to the Bulldogs’ community relations efforts, including raising more than $50,000 for local causes as co-chairman and organizer of the Bulldogs’ annual charity golf classic.

Brendan O’Reilly serves as the sports director at WBNG-TV, Binghamton’s CBS affiliate. During the 2004-05 season, O’Reilly hosted and produced The Go Sens Go Show, a weekly show devoted to the Binghamton Senators and their players and featuring extensive game highlights, interesting off-beat features, a coach’s corner segment and one-on-one interviews with virtually the entire team at the WBNG studios. O’Reilly and WBNG stepped up their coverage heading into the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs with live pre-game interviews during 6:00 newscasts and a feature on the league’s championship trophy when the AHL’s Calder Cup Tour came to town.

The James H. Ellery Memorial Awards, which were first presented in 1964, honor the late Mr. Ellery, who served the American Hockey League for 17 years as league secretary and publicity director.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of NHL players in 2003-04 were AHL graduates, and in 2004-05, more than 7.1 million fans – an all-time league record – attended AHL games across North America.