PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Wednesday that the Florida Everblades and the Alaska Aces are the recipients of the ECHL Ticket Department of the Year Award for 2006-07.
Florida of the American Conference and Alaska of the National Conference were presented the awards at the annual ECHL Communications and Marketing Meetings.
The Florida ticket staff is comprised of director of sales Nathan Gosline, group sales manager Ethan May and senior account executives Stephen Sanford and Scott Bogen. Florida has not averaged less than 6,200 fans per game in each of their first nine seasons, including leading the league a record five straight years from 2000-05. The Everblades drew 224,945 and averaged 6,248 per game, including four sellouts in 2006-07.
Alaska 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. The Aces ticket staff included director of ticket sales Brendan Desjardin and senior ticket executive Anna Bosco.
For the first time since 1998-99 the ECHL had 10 teams that averaged more than 5,000 fans per game in 2006-07 led by Stockton and Florida, who had the two highest average attendances since 2000-01. Thirteen of the 22 returning teams raised their attendance from 2005-06 as the league had 35 sellouts for the fourth year in a row
ECHL Ticket Department of the Year
2006-07 Florida Everblades and Alaska Aces
2005-06 Las Vegas Wranglers and Stockton Thunder
2004-05 Bakersfield Condors and Long Beach Ice Dogs
2003-04 Alaska Aces
2002-03 Reading Royals
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.