AHL names 2021-22 winners of excellence awards

American Hockey League

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League held its 2022 Awards Gala during the Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting at Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Thursday evening, presenting several awards for excellence and service.

The gala, part of the first in-person Annual Meeting in three years, also featured a celebration of the career of David Andrews, who retired as AHL President and CEO in 2020.

Jon Greenberg, president of the Milwaukee Admirals, has been selected as the winner of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award, given to the outstanding executive in the American Hockey League for 2021-22.

Greenberg guided the Admirals back to work last fall after an 18-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After managing his staff through a 2020-21 season in which the team opted to remain inactive, Greenberg led the organization to one of the most financially successful seasons in its history in 2021-22, and positioned it for more success in the future as well.

Greenberg, who also won the Hendy Award in 2006-07, is a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee area and has been with the Admirals since 2005, overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the team.

The James C. Hendy Memorial Award is named for the late Jim Hendy, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and AHL Hall of Fame and long-time statistician and historian for the AHL who won four Calder Cups as general manager of the Cleveland Barons.

Springfield Thunderbirds general manager Kevin McDonald has been honored with the Thomas Ebright Award in recognition of career contributions to the AHL.

McDonald joined the St. Louis Blues organization in 2001 and has overseen the Blues’ AHL affiliates for the last 17 seasons. Highly regarded for his professionalism and tireless dedication, McDonald quickly forged a strong partnership with the Blues’ new affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, and worked through a challenging 2021-22 season – one impacted again by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – to ice one of the most successful teams in the long history of AHL hockey in Springfield.

The Thomas Ebright Award honors Tom Ebright, the former owner and governor of the Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates who passed away in 1997.

The Springfield Thunderbirds (team of the year) and Stefan Noesen of the Chicago Wolves (player excellence) were named the 2021-22 winners of the President’s Awards.

The Thunderbirds’ 2021-22 season was memorable both on and off the ice, highlighted the team’s first-ever trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs and the city’s first berth in the Finals in 31 years. Under the guidance of team president Nathan Costa, the organization excelled in all areas of its business, including ticket and corporate sales, digital media and marketing, fan experience, and its charitable efforts throughout the Springfield community.

Forward Stefan Noesen authored a remarkable season for Chicago in 2021-22, providing the offensive firepower to help the Wolves to both the best record in the AHL during the regular season and the 2022 Calder Cup championship. Noesen, whose previous career-bests in a pro season were 21 goals and 32 points, scored a league-leading 48 times (the most by any AHL skater in 12 years), finished third in the overall scoring race with 85 points, and led all AHL forwards with a plus-35 rating, earning First Team AHL All-Star honors before contributing nine goals and 25 points in the Wolves’ Calder Cup Playoff run. After devastating knee and Achilles’ tendon injuries cut short his first two pro seasons, Noesen has gone on to play 224 games in the AHL and 207 more in the NHL since debuting in 2013.

Established in 2009, the President’s Awards are given to an AHL organization and/or player for overall excellence in the past year.

Veteran linesperson Brent Colby has been named the 2021-22 recipient of the Michael Condon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions by an on-ice official.

A resident of Manchester, Conn., Colby has been a member of the AHL’s officiating staff since 1994, working more than 1,000 games. Always a mainstay among the league’s New England-based officials, he carried an even heavier workload in 2021-22 when the local staff was impacted by COVID-19 protocols. Colby has served as a mentor to young referees and linespeople around the league, demonstrating the expertise, professionalism and work ethic required to be a successful official, and has earned the respect and admiration of his crewmates as well as coaches and players around the league.

The Michael Condon Memorial Award was created in 2002 following the sudden passing of veteran AHL linesman Mike Condon.

The League also recognized several outstanding achievements in a variety of categories with its annual Team Business Services awards.

As part of its Team Business Services program, the AHL honored clubs for top revenue growth in four areas during this past season: overall ticket sales, season-ticket sales, group-ticket sales and corporate sponsorship sales. Recognized for overall ticket sales were the Utica Comets (Eastern Conference) and the Milwaukee Admirals (Western Conference). The winners in season-ticket sales revenue growth were the Bridgeport Islanders (Eastern) and the Rockford IceHogs (Western). The Utica Comets (Eastern) and San Diego Gulls (Western) earned the awards for corporate sponsorship sales growth, and the Tucson Roadrunners were recognized for their group-ticket sales growth.

Additionally, teams from each conference were selected for excellence in the areas of digital media, community relations and fan experience. The Cleveland Monsters (Eastern) and Texas Stars (Western) were honored for digital media excellence; the Rochester Americans (Eastern) and Colorado Eagles (Western) earned the nods for exceptional community relations efforts; and the Laval Rocket (Eastern) and Henderson Silver Knights (Western) were recognized for outstanding fan experience at home games.

The AHL also honored several teams and individuals for their efforts during the 2021-22 season at the league’s Team Business Meetings in Allentown, Pa., last month, including the Cleveland Monsters for the marketing department of the year, the Henderson Silver Knights for the sponsorship sales department of the year and the Grand Rapids Griffins for the ticket sales department of the year.

The Milwaukee Admirals were recognized for unique ticket sales promotion or theme night (“Milwaukee Fish Fry”); the Rochester Americans were selected for immersive game operations experience (Buffalo Bills Day); the Manitoba Moose were chosen for unique community relations initiative (“Women in Sport Job Shadow Program”); the Ontario Reign were honored for unique social media content (“Hockey Is For Everyone interview series); the Cleveland Monsters were given the award for unique sponsorship package or entitlement (presenting partnership with local Black-owned small business Immaculate Cleaning for Black Heritage Celebration); and the Springfield Thunderbirds were recognized for outstanding marketing campaign (“We Are 413”).

In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for all 32 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.

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