AHL names 2011-12 excellence award winners

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the league has named the 2011-12 recipients of several awards for excellence and service to the league.

The announcements came Wednesday evening at a gala reception during the league’s annual meeting of the Board of Governors at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

St. John’s IceCaps chief operating officer Glenn Stanford has been named the winner of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award as the outstanding executive in the American Hockey League for 2011-12. With just four short months from franchise inception to opening night, Stanford returned to his native St. John’s last summer and oversaw the sale of nearly 4,500 season tickets while building a staff, upgrading Mile One Centre and directing what would quickly become one of the elite organizations in the AHL. The IceCaps sold out all 46 home games during the regular season and playoffs and quickly became a key part of the province through player appearances, community efforts and charitable donations.

The James C. Hendy Award is named for the late Jim Hendy, a Hockey Hall of Famer and long-time statistician and historian for the AHL who won four Calder Cups as general manager of the original Cleveland Barons.

Portland Pirates managing owner, chairman and governor Lyman G. Bullard, Jr. was honored with the Thomas Ebright Award in recognition of career contributions to the AHL. Bullard has been a vital member of the AHL’s executive group since joining the Pirates in 2000, serving as chair of the league’s executive, constitution and legal affairs committees and sitting on the strategic planning and spectator safety committees. A partner at the Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart, Bullard has counseled the American Hockey League through several major franchise transactions, including the 2001 expansion absorbing six former International Hockey League franchises.

The Thomas Ebright Award honors Tom Ebright, the former owner and governor of the Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates who passed away in 1997.

The Providence Bruins and Cory Conacher of the Norfolk Admirals were named the 2011-12 winners of the President’s Awards.

A perennial leader in overall business growth and success, the Providence Bruins experienced another successful season in 2011-12, averaging 7,817 fans per home game to rank fourth in the league and marking an increase of 6.7 percent over the 2010-11 season. Providence, which has been a top-10 club in attendance in each of its 20 seasons in the AHL, hosted a Boston Bruins Black & Gold preseason game in September and a Providence Bruins Alumni Game in November – part of the celebration of their 20th-anniversary season – and continued to be a local leader with their community relations efforts as well.

Undrafted out of Canisius College, undersized at 5-foot-8, and living with type 1 diabetes since childhood, Cory Conacher continued to defy the odds when he earned an AHL contract after an impressive training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he went on to turn in one of the greatest rookie seasons in league history. The 22-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., led the AHL with 39 goals and finished second with 80 points, earning the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as outstanding rookie and the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s most valuable player. He was a key contributor in the Admirals’ all-time record 28-game winning streak to end the regular season, and chipped in with 15 points in 18 playoff games as Norfolk won its first Calder Cup.

The President’s Awards are given to an AHL organization for excellence in all areas off the ice, and to an AHL player in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in the past year.

Veteran linesman Bob Paquette has been named the 2011-12 recipient of the Michael Condon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions by an on-ice official. An AHL official since 1992, Paquette has worked more than 600 regular-season games and earned the full respect of the entire officiating staff with his veteran presence, hard work and dedication. The Rhode Island native also serves as chief of the state’s Division of Parks and Recreation and is also involved in several community service organizations.

The Michael Condon Memorial Award was created in 2002 following the sudden passing of veteran AHL linesman Mike Condon.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 11th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2011-12.