PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Tuesday that for the second consecutive year Steve Chapman of the Gwinnett Gladiators is the recipient of the ECHL Executive of the Year Award.
Chapman, who is the first person to win the honor twice, was presented with the award at the Annual Board of Governors Meeting held Thursday and Friday in Las Vegas. The award is determined in a vote of ECHL Governors.
“I was very pleased to be nominated for the second year in a row, but after receiving this award last season, I am extremely honored to be recognized again this year” said Chapman. “In fact, I am more proud of the award this year because I think it shows that our organization is held in pretty high esteem around the league.”
The Gladiators advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time ever in 2006 and have reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs every season since relocating to Gwinnett in 2003-04. The Gladiators have been a fixture in suburban Atlanta, making contributions to community, school and charitable organizations.
Chapman, who was runner-up for the ECHL Executive of the Year Award in 2003-04, 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.
ECHL Executive Of The Year Winners
2006 Steve Chapman Gwinnett Gladiators
2005 Steve Chapman Gwinnett Gladiators
2004 Terry Parks Alaska Aces
2003 John Butler Peoria Rivermen
2002 Matt Loughran Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
2001 Craig Brush Florida Everblades
2000 Brian McKenna Trenton Titans
1999 Carl Scheer Greenville Grrrowl
1998 Charles Felix Pensacola Ice Pilots
1997 David Paitson Columbus Chill
1996 Dave Berryman Louisiana IceGators
1995 Harvey Feuerstein and Craig Laughlin Richmond Renegades
1994 Jean Gagnon and Pierre Paiement Roanoke Express
1993 Larry Kish Wheeling Thunderbirds
About The ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06. There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06.
The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.