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 Kalamazoo Wings

K-Wings Set Record, Eight ECHL Award Nominations

June 6, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Kalamazoo Wings News Release

KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Wings, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, announced Thursday that team earned a record eight (8) award nominations at the upcoming 2024 ECHL Hockey Summer Meetings on June 26 in Las Vegas, presented by SponsorCX.

Kalamazoo's award nominations include ECHL Executive of the Year, Joe Babik Award - Media/PR Director of the Year, Inclusive Spirit Award, Game Operations Team of the Year, Community Service Award, Specialty Jersey of the Year, Most Creative Ticket Package, and Group Sales Growth (year-over-year).

The awards can be streamed on June 26 at 7 p.m. EST on the ECHL's Facebook page.

K-Wings ECHL Team Award Nominations

Inclusive Spirit Award

The K-Wings hosted nine 'Cause Games' that ranged from Deaf Awareness, Alzheimer's Awareness, Black Heritage, LBGTQ+, Hockey for Her, Lavender Ice, and more this past season. These events touched all areas of inclusivity: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. From on-ice - to behind the bench - to its front-office staff - Kalamazoo ensures representation throughout its entire organization that reflects the greater Kalamazoo community.

Game Operations Team of the Year

The Wings boasted arguably the best game-day environment in the ECHL this past season. This award highlights the team that puts on the best show for their fans on game day. Yet, so much more goes into earning this nomination. Kalamazoo implemented new innovative ideas, decorated spaces, created concourse activities, managed crowd atmosphere and safety, and flawlessly executed theme nights & partner activations. This is just a short list of how the K-Wings operations team ensures fans always remember coming to a Kalamazoo Wings hockey game.

Community Service Team Award

Kalamazoo boasted a record year for community engagement this past season with 223 organizations reached and a total of 243 service hours. The K-Wings also raised over $328 thousand this past season for local charities and organizations via initiatives like Jersey Auctions and Chuck-A-Puck efforts.

Specialty Jersey of the Year

The K-Wings earned the nomination for their American Sign Language (ASL) specialty jerseys for the team's Deaf Awareness game on Dec. 10, 2023. All proceeds from the post-game jersey auction benefitted Bronson Hospital's non-profit organization specific to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The team used ASL interpreters to execute the jersey auction, including closed captioning on the scoreboard. Kalamazoo's ASL Jersey was designed by the team's first Fan Design Jersey contest winner, and fellow Michigander, Kurt Gorecki.

Most Creative Ticket Package

The K-Wings introduced a new way to connect with small businesses in search brand exposure and experiences via the Business Insiders Package. The package included four season tickets, private networking events, access to luxury private spaces for one game, player & mascot visits to places of business, website placement, and a 15-second promotional PA read during a K-Wings game.

Group Sales Growth

Kalamazoo grew group sales by more than 23,000 tickets this past season. The K-Wings were able to strategically package value with incentives, ensuring that their groups not only had the opportunity to catch a game for great pricing - but also could make it a night to remember via incentives and world-class customer service.

Executive of the Year

Toni Will led the K-Wings to their highest-attended season in 28 years in 2023-24, and their fourth-highest-attended season in franchise history with six sellouts. Will has now increased Wings Event Center crowds in each of her nine seasons at the organization's helm. Toni is responsible for guiding Kalamazoo to the front of pro hockey's DEI efforts and introduced new 'Cause Games' to the team's remarkable lineup in Deaf Awareness & Alzheimer's Awareness in 2023-24. Will also secure National recognition for the team's 'Cause Game' lineup, as the K-Wings earned the National Sports Forum's 2024 SAMMY Award (Sales Advertising Marketing Management Idea of the Year). The K-Wings' GM is also the first woman ever to be elected to the ECHL's Board of Governors Executive Committee, chairs the ECHL's 'Team Services Committee' and serves as a member of the league's 'Hockey is for Everyone' committee. This award is announced privately during the ECHL Board of Governors meeting at the end of June.

Joe Babik Award - Media/PR Director of the Year

This is the second straight season Chris Cadeau has earned a nomination in this category. Cadeau's leadership and dedication to his role are seen in each place the K-Wings brand touches. Chris' vast responsibilities range from hockey operations support & coverage, website management, social media management, Local/Regional/National media collaboration, campaign launches, original content ideation, broadcasting, content production, and more. For his efforts, the K-Wings brand took the National stage multiple times this season, touching major outlets like ESPN. Cadeau's social media management also saw another season of 10%-plus followership growth with over 18 million people interacting with K-Wings content in 2023-24.


Kalamazoo Wings Group Early Bird specials, Half-Season Ticket Packages, Season Ticket Package s and Business Insider Season Tickets are on sale now. More details, benefits and pricing are available by calling (269) 345-1125.

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