WICHITA, Kan. (June 5) – The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, AHL's San Jose Barracuda and powered by Toyota, are excited to announce that the team has been selected as a finalist for four separate categories for the 2022-23 Team Awards, presented by SponsorCX.
Wichita earned nominations for Most Creative Revenue Generation, Most Creative Ticket Package, Inclusive Spirit Award and Media/PR Director of the Year.
The awards will be presented at the 2023 ECHL Hockey Summer Meetings in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 28. ECHL Team Awards honor teams and individuals in several categories for their accomplishments during the 2022-23 Season.
The first category that the team has been nominated for is Most Creative Revenue Generation of the Year. On Saturday, March 18, the Thunder welcomed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye for Celebration Night, which helped honor the Chiefs for winning the big game. The first 1,000 fans through the door received a commemorate cup, courtesy of Whiskey Dicks Bar & Grill. Okoye also hosted a shoe drive at the arena along with his charity to donate a new pair of shoes to 100-plus local children. Fans could purchase a VIP package, which included a ticket to the game and a Meet & Greet after the game with Okoye.
For Most Creative Ticket Package, the Thunder earned a nomination for their Valentine's Day Suiteheart Date Night that took place on Wednesday, February 15. Couples could purchase a special date night that included two tickets in one of our luxury suites, buffet-style dinner catered by the arena, two beverage vouchers, a gift bag, a rose, and a post-game photo on the ice. This promotion sold nearly 100 tickets (50 couples) for a weeknight game.
The Thunder were also nominated for the Inclusive Spirit Award, which was the team's Noche del Trueno on Friday, February 18. Directly translating to 'Night of the Thunder,' the night helped provide inclusion and attention to the Hispanic Heritage within the Wichita community.
The game atmosphere included food trucks on-site, vendor booths with giveaway items, the music group Banda Tamborracho, who performed pre-game and during intermissions, Ballet Folklorico, a pinata on the ice during intermission, and specialty-themed jerseys worn during the game.
Finally, Jason Mals was nominated for Media/Pr Director of the Year. This is his third nomination in this category. Mals helped coordinate several feature stories throughout the season, such as the close relationship between Jay Dickman and Jake Wahlin, the connection between Ben Allison and his father Scott, who played for the team in 2004-05 and the other sports that Michal Stinil almost got into before deciding hockey was his passion.
He also helped coordinate the granting of a Make-A-Wish for a young boy during intermission at a game last season. Local news was on-hand and the wish was revealed during intermission with the help of some of the Thunder players.
Mals recently called his 1,000th regular season game behind the mic for the Thunder. He joined the franchise in 2004-05 and is currently entering his 16th year with the organization.
The presentation will also be available for streaming on the ECHL Facebook page at 7 p.m. ET on June 28.
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