The ECHL announced on Tuesday that Toledo Walleye General Manager Neil Neukam and Jacksonville Icemen President Bob Ohrablo have been selected by the ECHL Board of Governors as co-recipients of the 2017-18 ECHL Executive of the Year award.
Under Neukam’s guidance, Toledo set an ECHL record with over 69,000 group tickets sold during the 2017-18 season while also setting team records for sellouts (28), total attendance (273,613) and average attendance (7,600), which was second in the league. The Walleye saw a growth of 11 percent in season-ticket sales over the 2016-17 season as the team reached the 50-win mark on the ice for the second consecutive season.
In addition to serving as the Walleye’s General Manager and Executive Vice President, Neukam is also in his 26th season with the Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club, where he spent 17 seasons as Assistant General Manager focusing on corporate partnerships. Neukam is a member of the ECHL Marketing Committee and ECHL Media Committee to assist with League Programs and overall growth of the League.
Ohrablo helped bring professional hockey back to Jacksonville for the first time since 2008, investing a year of time into developing relationships with the Mayor and area leaders well in advance of launching the team in the market. The Icemen ranked second in the ECHL in group ticket sales in their inaugural season and created a non-profit of the night program that was sold for 32 of 36 games. Ohrablo also was instrumental in creating the Jacksonville Icemen Foundation, which raised more than $61,000 while making more than 100 community appearances.
Ohrablo has more than 30 years of experience in the pro sports and entertainment business and spans six professional hockey teams including teams in the American Hockey League, International Hockey League, ECHL and the NHL. While with the Florida Panthers, Ohrablo led major growth in sponsorship, which contributed to the team being named the 2008 Sports Business Weekly Business Stanley Cup winner.
ECHL Executive Of The Year Winners
2017-18 Neil Neukam, Toledo Walleye and Bob Ohrablo, Jacksonville Icemen2016-17 Brent Thiessen, Kansas City Mavericks2015-16 Kristin Ropp, Cincinnati Cyclones2014-15 Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye2013-14 Matthew Riley, Bakersfield Condors2012-13 Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye2011-12 Justin Kemp, Ontario Reign2010-11 Dan Chapman, Stockton Thunder2009-10 Kristin Ropp, Cincinnati Cyclones2008-09 Gordon Kaye, Reading Royals2007-08 Darren Abbott, South Carolina Stingrays2006-07 Matthew Riley, Bakersfield Condors2005-06 Steve Chapman, Gwinnett Gladiators2004-05 Steve Chapman, Gwinnett Gladiators2003-04 Terry Parks, Alaska Aces2002-03 John Butler, Peoria Rivermen2001-02 Matt Loughran, Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies2000-01 Craig Brush, Florida Everblades1999-00 Brian McKenna, Trenton Titans1998-99 Carl Scheer, Greenville Grrrowl1997-98 Charles Felix, Pensacola Ice Pilots1996-97 David Paitson, Columbus Chill1995-96 Dave Berryman, Louisiana IceGators1994-95 Harry Fuerstein/Craig Laughlin, Richmond Renegades1993-94 John Gagnon/Pierre Paiement, Roanoke Express1992-93 Larry Kish, Wheeling Thunderbirds