Ellery Award winners named for 2011-12

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the 2011-12 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 sportswriter Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal Star (in the newspaper category); Norfolk Admirals broadcaster Pete Michaud (radio); and Aaron LaFontaine of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (television).

The Rivermen beat writer at the Journal Star for 27 seasons, Dave Eminian not only serves as one of the most informative writers in the AHL, but he also acts as a team historian and statistician, helping to preserve three decades of professional hockey history in Peoria. Eminian wrote more than 200 articles about the Rivermen and the AHL during the past season; posted stories, video interviews and highlights on his Cleve’s World blog at pjstar.com; and covered the team at home, on the road throughout the Midwest, in St. Louis during training camp and in the Peoria community throughout the year.

No person is more synonymous with Norfolk Admirals hockey than play-by-play voice Pete Michaud, who has been on the air in various capacities in Hampton Roads since 1979. The Virginia native has been at the microphone for all 12 seasons of the Admirals’ AHL existence, and brought the team’s record-breaking 2011-12 season into thousands of homes on 102.1 The Game and AHL Live. Michaud also hosted the team’s weekly radio show, wrote articles for the Admirals’ web site and the booster club newsletter, and maintained a presence on Facebook and Twitter providing information and insight to fans.

Aaron LaFontaine, the director of business development for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s broadcast department, has long been an important resource for the AHL on broadcast initiatives, and this past season he went above and beyond to help ensure international television coverage of the Toronto Marlies and the AHL during the regular season and the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. By successfully arranging for appropriate access and connectivity requirements, LaFontaine and his team at Leafs TV delivered broadcasts that aired not only on Leafs TV but also on Sportsnet ONE across Canada, CBS Sports Network in the United States and ESPN America overseas.

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 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.