AHL names Ellery Award winners for 2006-07

ahl06_200.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the 2006-07 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 Worcester Sharks beat writer Bill Ballou (in the newspaper category); Toronto Marlies play-by-play broadcaster John Bartlett (radio); and sports director Mark Giangreco of WLS-TV (ABC 7) in Chicago (television).

On the AHL beat in Worcester since 1994, Bill Ballou is the authoritative source for American Hockey League information in the area. His extensive coverage in the Telegram & Gazette includes recaps and notes columns for every Worcester Sharks game, and his weekly AHL column is a must-read for fans, broadcasters and fellow writers alike. A lifelong hockey enthusiast himself, Ballou has also contributed AHL material to The Hockey News and to San Jose’s Sharks Magazine. He is now a two-time winner of the Ellery Award, having also received the honor in 1997-98.

The radio play-by-play voice of the Toronto Marlies, John Bartlett continued to promote the American Hockey League in Canada’s largest city in 2006-07. He negotiated an agreement to have Marlies games broadcast on AM640 Toronto Radio (also the radio home of the Toronto Maple Leafs), and was also instrumental in organizing the radio broadcast of the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. Bartlett also contributes greatly to the Marlies’ community relations efforts, writes a popular column for the team’s Web site and makes regular appearances on Leafs TV that help educate the growing AHL fan base in Toronto.

Mark Giangreco is the sports director and the primary sports anchor at WLS-TV (ABC 7) in Chicago. A passionate hockey fan, Giangreco includes coverage of the AHL and the Chicago Wolves during the station’s top-rated 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, gathering game highlights and dispatching crews to report on Wolves practices and media days in an effort to stay on top of the latest happenings around the team and the league. He is also a regular guest speaker at the Wolves’ annual Future Media Day, discussing his career in sports journalism and answering questions from attending students.

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 83 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and the 2006-07 season marked the sixth consecutive year in which more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games across North America.