PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Tuesday that Steve Chapman of the Gwinnett Gladiators is the 2004-05 recipient of the ECHL Executive of the Year Award.
Chapman, who was a runner-up for the award in 2003-04, was presented with the award at the Annual Board of Governors Meeting held Tuesday and Wednesday in Las Vegas. The award is determined in a vote of ECHL Governors.
Gwinnett increased its regular season attendance by more than 20 percent from 2003-04 and ranked second in the league with 6,045 per game. The Gladiators had team record sellout crowds of 11,355 on November 5 and February 5 and drew 10,258 on November 19 and 8,586 on October 29. The sellout crowds were the second and third largest crowds of the season and the Gladiators had five of the 15 largest crowds in the ECHL in 2004-05.
Chapman is president and general manager of the Gladiators as well as a partner in Gwinnett County Hockey, LLC the ownership entity of the team. He is responsible for overseeing all business and hockey operations for the ECHL membership which is an affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
Chapman began his sports management career in 1992 as a sales executive with the Birmingham Bulls Professional Hockey Club, rising to assistant general manager in 1993. In 1995, he accepted the challenge of bringing minor league hockey to Mobile, Alabama as general manager. He played an integral role in bringing professional hockey to the Gwinnett area, working with both county and ECHL officials to launch the Gladiators.