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Norfolk’s Johnson receives Blake Cullen ECHL Executive of the Year Award

Wednesday, June 28th
Commissioner Ryan Crelin presents Executive of the Year Award to Norfolk's Billy Johnson

LAS VEGAS – The ECHL announced today that Norfolk Admirals’ President Billy Johnson is the 2022-23 recipient of the ECHL Executive of the Year Award. The award, which is determined in voting by the ECHL Board of Governors, is presented annually to the top executive in the League. In January, the award was renamed in honor of Blake Cullen, who, who was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009. Cullen founded the Hampton Roads Admirals in 1989, and owned the team for seven seasons through 1995-96. Johnson joined the Admirals in November of 2021 after previous ECHL experience as President of the Las Vegas Wranglers from 2003-14. During the 2022-23 season, he was instrumental in the Admirals hosting the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic, which highlighted Norfolk to a national audience. The Admirals saw paid attendance during the season increase by 40% over the 2021-22 season. Additionally, the team had six of the top 10 places in all-time weekend (Friday and Saturday) gross ticket revenues since the team was formed 1989, including its 15 seasons in the American Hockey League. Johnson also introduced the team’s wildly successful marketing centerpiece, The City Series, which celebrated each of the seven Hampton Roads cities. Blake Cullen ECHL Executive of the Year Award2023                Billy Johnson, Norfolk Admirals2022                Joel Lomurno, Wichita Thunder2020                Eric Trapp, Idaho Steelheads2019                Neil Neukam, Toledo Walleye2018                Neil Neukam, Toledo Walleye and Bob Ohrablo, Jacksonville Icemen2017                Brent Thiesssen, Kansas City Mavericks2016                Kristin Ropp, Cincinnati Cyclones2015                Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye2014                Matthew Riley, Bakersfield Condors2013                Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye2012                Justin Kemp,   Ontario Reign2011                Dan Chapman, Stockton Thunder2010                Kristin Ropp, Cincinnati Cyclones2009                Gordon Kaye, Reading Royals2008                Darren Abbott, South Carolina Stingrays2007                Matthew Riley, Bakersfield Condors2006                Steve Chapman, Gwinnett Gladiators2005                Steve Chapman, Gwinnett Gladiators2004                Terry Parks, Alaska Aces2003                John Butler, Peoria Rivermen2002                Matt Loughran, Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies2001                Craig Brush, Florida Everblades2000                Brian McKenna, Trenton Titans1999                Carl Scheer, Greenville Grrrowl1998                Charles Felix, Pensacola Ice Pilots1997                David Paitson, Columbus Chill1996                Dave Berryman, Louisiana Ice Gators1995                Harry Fuerstein/Craig Laughlin, Richmond Renegades1994                John Gagon/Pierre Paiement, Roanoke Express1993                Larry Kish, Wheeling Thunderbirds About the ECHL Formed in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 35th season in 2022-23. There have been 740 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 13 who have made their NHL debut in the 2022-23 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 32 NHL teams in 2022-23, marking the 26th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

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