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07/08/2010 7:15 AM -
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins have been named the Western Conference recipient of the American Hockey League’s 2009-10 Team Business Services Award for Fan Experience, recognizing the team’s game operations staff for the outstanding fan experience they provide during home games at Van Andel Arena.

The AHL made the announcement on Wednesday at a gala reception during the league’s annual meeting of the Board of Governors at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

As part of its Team Business Services program, the AHL honored one team from each conference for community service, fan experience, and top revenue growth in each of four areas (season-ticket sales, group-ticket sales, overall ticket sales, and corporate sales). The Griffins captured their third Team Business Services award in the last two years, after winning the Western Conference awards for both community service and overall ticket sales growth last season.

The 2009-10 Team Business Services award winners are:
Category Western Conference Winner Eastern Conference Winner
Community Service Lake Erie Monsters Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Fan Experience Grand Rapids Griffins Manchester Monarchs
Overall Ticket Sales Chicago Wolves Hershey Bears
Season-Ticket Sales Manitoba Moose Hershey Bears
Group-Ticket Sales Chicago Wolves Hartford Wolf Pack
Corporate Sales Chicago Wolves Syracuse Crunch

The award is the latest in a string of recent honors for the Griffins’ front office. During last month’s AHL Marketing Meeting in Chicago, the team’s popular “D-Zone” promotion earned recognition as the Most Unique Ticket Sales Promotion, while the Griffins’ ticket sales department also garnered three Team Achievement Awards for ticket sales success. In addition, Bob Kaser, the Griffins’ vice president of community relations and broadcasting, received the AHL's 2009-10 James H. Ellery Memorial Award in the radio category last week, in recognition of his outstanding coverage of the league.

The AHL also announced the recipients of three individual awards for excellence and service to the league. Howard Dolgon, owner, president and CEO of the Syracuse Crunch, has been named the winner of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award as the outstanding executive in the AHL for 2009-10.

Binghamton Senators part-owner and executive vice president of operations Tom Mitchell has been honored with the Thomas Ebright Award in recognition of career contributions to the AHL, while David Butova, an AHL linesman since 1978, has been named the recipient of the Michael Condon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions by an on-ice official.

Finally, The Chicago Wolves and P.K. Subban of the Hamilton Bulldogs were named the 2009-10 winners of the President's Awards, which are given to an AHL organization for excellence in all areas off the ice, and to an AHL player in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in the past year.

In operation since 1936 and celebrating its 75th anniversary season beginning this fall, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the ninth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2009-10.

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