AHL announces Ellery Award winners for 2008-09

ahl06_200.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the 2008-09 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 the Winnipeg Free Press (in the newspaper category); NHL Home Ice on XM Satellite Radio (radio); and sports director Kevin Shea of Charter TV-3 in Worcester, Mass. (television).

Covering the Manitoba Moose since the team’s inception in 1996, the Winnipeg Free Press consistently provides insightful articles relating to the Moose’s activities both on and off the ice. The Free Press had a strong contingent of reporters at each Manitoba home game and was the only local daily newspaper to regularly travel on the road with the team during the 2008-09 campaign. Veteran beat writer Tim Campbell and columnists Gary Lawless and Randy Turner combined to keep greater Winnipeg hockey fans up-to-date with all the latest news and perspective from throughout the American Hockey League during the Moose’s most successful season in franchise history, and the Free Press also devoted considerable resources to the club’s many community efforts all year long.

NHL Home Ice on XM Satellite Radio (XM 204), under the guidance of Joe Thistel, the Director of Programming, Sports and Talk, at XM Canada, has taken the lead in providing extensive American Hockey League coverage to satellite-radio listeners across North America. The all-hockey channel offered subscribers several live broadcasts of AHL games during the 2008-09 season, including the AHL All-Star Game and select Calder Cup Playoff contests. Additionally, Home Ice’s roster of veteran studio hosts welcomed AHL players and coaches on the air throughout the season, headlined by league president and CEO David Andrews’ monthly appearances on Hockey This Morning with host Scott Laughlin.

Kevin Shea is the sports director and anchor for Charter TV-3 in Worcester, Mass., and has been a longtime fixture on the Central Massachusetts sports scene. Shea was a key contributor to a 30-minute television feature, “Chance to Shine,” which delved behind the scenes of the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic at the DCU Center. He ensures a constant presence for the Worcester Sharks on newscasts and hosted a feature program after each of the Sharks’ second-round playoff contests last spring, providing post-game highlights, interviews and analysis. Shea served as color commentator for Sharks telecasts on Charter TV-3 and was master of ceremonies for the 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame/AHL All-Star Classic Luncheon.

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 the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the eighth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2008-09.