PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Wednesday that the Charlotte Checkers and the Alaska Aces are the recipients of the “Excellence In Marketing” Award for 2006-07.
Charlotte led the league for the second year in a row with 11 sellouts and finished third in the league with 5,935 per game. The Checkers had three crowds over 10,000, including a team record of 11,237 on Feb. 10, and eight crowds of more than 9,000. Special events for the season included “Pink In The Rink”, “Salute To Heroes Night” and “Race Night” which helped to raise more than $400,000 for local charities and community outreach programs.
Alaska’s “Fuel the Fire” campaign was led by vice president of sales and marketing George Sandoval and public relations coordinator Devon Parks beginning with a dramatic “ring of fire” ceremony on the ice at Sullivan Arena directed by game operations manager Chuck Hickman. The Aces set team records in 2006-07 with 3,077 season tickets and 185,487 fans and have raised their average attendance by 18.7 percent since joining the ECHL as an expansion team in 2003-04.
ECHL Marketing Award Winners
2006-07 Charlotte Checkers and Alaska Aces
2005-06 San Diego Gulls
2004-05 George Sandoval Alaska Aces
2003-04 Eric Trapp/John Cunningham Idaho Steelheads
2002-03 Bart Rogers/Mike Nelson Peoria Rivermen
2001-02 Mark Miller Florida Everblades
2000-01 Richard Lisk Trenton Titans
99-2000 Bart Rogers Peoria Rivermen
1998-99 Pat Pylypuik Toledo Storm
1997-98 Neil Hoyt Pensacola Ice Pilots
1996-97 Belinda Wiggins Richmond Renegades
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”. The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21.
There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07. There have been 184 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 107 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season. More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season.
The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.
In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
2008 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition will be hosted by Stockton Thunder, City of Stockton and Stockton Arena on Jan. 22-23, 2008.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.