SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has named Courtney Mahoney, vice president of operations for the Chicago Wolves, the winner of the league’s Ken McKenzie Award for the 2008-09 season. Recognizing the important role played by team management in building a successful franchise, the award is presented annually to an AHL team executive who most successfully promotes his or her own club.
Mahoney has spearheaded the community relations and game operations efforts of the Wolves for 13 seasons, working her way up from intern to vice president, and becoming deeply involved in nearly all aspects of the organization’s off-ice endeavors. She is the mastermind of the team’s charitable and community programs, including the annual Adopt-a-Dog and Read to Succeed programs, all of which have raised more than $200,000 for Chicago Wolves charities in the last year and over $4 million all told under Mahoney’s supervision.
A Chicago-area native, Mahoney also oversees the fan experience at each Wolves home game, with game-day responsibilities ranging from playing in-house music to supervising the pre-game pyrotechnic displays to directing mascot appearances throughout Allstate Arena. Thanks to Mahoney’s leadership, the Wolves’ game presentation continues to be an innovative benchmark for the rest of 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.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the eighth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2008-09.