PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Stockton Thunder have been presented the Award of Excellence for 2006-07.
The Award of Excellence is presented by the ECHL to organizations that are first-rate, cooperative with the league office, compliant with league programs, and who distinguish themselves on and off the ice in their community. The award was presented at the 12th Annual Communications & Marketing Meetings held June 10-13 and attended by more than 150 representatives from ECHL teams.
Stockton’s “FANtastic” campaign, which received a Marketing Campaign Award, was a season-long tribute to the loyal and rapidly-growing fan base. The Thunder, who became the first team other than Florida to lead the league in attendance two years in a row since Louisiana from 1995-99, featured fans in advertising and printed publications and on video board montages during games while emphasizing more frequent interaction between Thunder players and front office staff with the community. Stockton raised their average attendance by 6.5 percent to 6,780 per game and had three sellouts at Stockton Arena, which will host the ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 23, 2008.
The Thunder raised more than $200,000 for charity in cash and donations highlighted by the acclaimed “Thunder Goes Pink Weekend” which drew more than 15,000 fans and raised more $35,573 for the St. Joseph’s Foundation Mobile Mammography Unit and the American Cancer Society – Stockton Field Office.
ECHL Award of Excellence Winners
2006-07 Stockton Thunder
2005-06 Alaska Aces
2004-05 Pensacola Ice Pilots
2003-04 Florida Everblades
2002-03 Johnstown Chiefs
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.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.