Lappan wins Ken McKenzie Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has named Mike Lappan, the director of public and media relations for the Charlotte Checkers, the winner of the league’s Ken McKenzie Award for the 2011-12 season.

Recognizing the important role played by team management in building a successful franchise, the Ken McKenzie Award is presented annually to an AHL team executive who most successfully promotes his or her own club. The award was announced on Thursday during the AHL Marketing Meetings in Rochester, N.Y.

With Lappan leading their public relations efforts, the Checkers improved attendance by 7 percent in 2011-12 and increased visibility in a crowded Charlotte market. In addition to his normal duties, Lappan broadened the Checkers’ community footprint as part of a grassroots marketing campaign, implementing several highly successful community service programs and events and increasing the number of player, coach, staff and mascot appearances around Charlotte.

Under Lappan’s direction, the Checkers continue to be frontrunners in the social and digital media fields and lead all minor professional hockey teams in number of Facebook fans with more than 34,000. He has established exceptional local and national media relationships and has helped garner national attention for the Checkers and the AHL.

The AHL’s Ken McKenzie Award, first presented in 1978, honors Ken McKenzie, the founder and long-time publisher of The Hockey News and a 1997 media honoree by the Hockey Hall of Fame as the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner. Mr. McKenzie, the NHL’s first publicity director and creator of its first media guide, passed away in 2003.