The ECHL on Wednesday announced that linesman Scott Senger is the 2014-15 recipient of the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award.
The award honors an On-Ice Official for his contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff and is determined in voting of ECHL On-Ice Officials. It is named in honor of ECHL linesman Ryan Birmingham who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in May 2007.
“I was completely taken back when I got the news that I would be receiving the Birmingham Award,” Senger said. “I am extremely honored and grateful to have been voted by my peers. I want to thank all of you who have shared in my time on and off the ice and to all of you who voted for me. I have had the opportunity of meeting and working with some great officials during my time in the ECHL. You are not only great teammates, but great mentors and friends.
“I want to thank my wife Stephanie for all of her love and support,” Senger continued. “Thank you to my parents who supported me growing up in this great game, to Joe Ernst, Pat Kelly and Jason Rollins for their guidance during my time in the ECHL, and to all the individuals that have been a part of my career on and off the ice from North Dakota, Nevada and South Carolina. I cannot thank you all enough.”
Senger began his officiating career in North Dakota during the 1988-89 season at the age of 17. In addition to his time officiating in the ECHL, Senger has worked professional games in the Southern Professional Hockey League, collegiate games in the Amateur Collegiate Hockey Association, and USA Hockey Regional and National tournaments.
Senger, a North Dakota native, currently resides in Greer, S.C. with his wife Stephanie. When not on the ice, Senger works as a strength and conditioning coach for the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.
“This award is a very well-deserved honor for Scott as he exemplifies what this award is all about,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “Scott is such a team guy who goes above and beyond his duties in making sure the officials that live in the league apartment or come through Greenville are looked after without any publicity or fanfare. To have his fellow officials bestow on him the Birmingham Award is a tremendous honor. We thank Scott for all his hard work and dedication to the ECHL and congratulate him on winning this award.”
The 2007-08 edition of the ECHL Rule Book was dedicated to the memory of Birmingham, who was featured on the back cover, and ECHL on-ice officials wore a commemorative patch on their left shoulder that has 60, which is the number that Birmingham wore, and the initials RJB.
Birmingham began his officiating career when he was 12 years old in the Southgate Minor Hockey Association and worked his way into the USA Hockey Junior Officiating Development Program in 2003. Birmingham was hired as a full-time linesman by the ECHL in 2006 and worked 83 games in the regular season and four games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, including his final game, Florida at Charlotte, on April 17, 2007.
There were 27 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2014-15 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award Winners