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Photo: Darren Abate

AHL names team business award winners

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews has announced the winners of the league’s annual Team Business Services awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in a variety of categories including ticket sales, community service and fan experience.

These awards were presented Thursday evening at a gala reception during the Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

As part of its Team Business Services program, the AHL honored one club from each conference for top revenue growth in four areas during this past season: overall ticket sales, season-ticket sales, group-ticket sales and corporate sponsorship sales. The winners in both overall ticket sales revenue growth and season-ticket sales growth were the Toronto Marlies (Eastern) and the Bakersfield Condors (Western). The Laval Rocket (Eastern) and the San Jose Barracuda (Western) earned the awards for group-ticket sales growth, and the Belleville Senators (Eastern) and Ontario Reign (Western) were recognized for their corporate sponsorship sales growth.

Additionally, teams from each conference were selected for excellence in the areas of digital media, community relations and fan experience. The Springfield Thunderbirds (Eastern) and Manitoba Moose (Western) were honored for digital media excellence; the Utica Comets (Eastern) and San Antonio Rampage (Western) earned the nods for exceptional community relations efforts; and the Cleveland Monsters (Eastern) and Iowa Wild (Western) were recognized for outstanding fan experience at home games.

The AHL also honored several teams and individuals for their efforts during the 2018-19 season at the league’s Team Business Meetings in Charlotte, N.C., last month, including the Iowa Wild for the social media department of the year, the Chicago Wolves for the sponsorship sales department of the year and the Toronto Marlies for the ticket sales department of the year.

The San Antonio Rampage were recognized for unique ticket sales promotion or theme night (“Los Chimuelos de San Antonio”); the Iowa Wild were selected for unique game operations promotion (in-game mobile app contests), the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were chosen for unique community relations initiative (“Bully Busters”); the Ontario Reign were honored for unique social media promotion (“GIF Madness”); the Colorado Eagles were given the award for unique sponsorship package or entitlement (naming-rights deal with Cadillac for home locker room); and the Springfield Thunderbirds were recognized for unique marketing campaign (“Rise Up”).

In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.