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Schamel receives 2023-24 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award

Wednesday, June 5th
Schamel receives 2023-24 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award

The ECHL announced on Wednesday that linesman Chuck Schamel has been named the 2023-24 recipient of the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award.
 
The award honors an On-Ice Official for his contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff and is determined in voting of ECHL On-Ice Officials. It is named in honor of ECHL linesman Ryan Birmingham, who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in May 2007.
 
“With utmost modesty, I am deeply honored to receive the 2023-24 Ryan Birmingham Award,” Schamel said. “Receiving this recognition means the world to me, and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone for this dedication. Observing the 2023-24 season, I am thrilled to know that I made such an impact upon my fellow officials’ growth. Supporting my officiating team, I prioritize fostering motivation and engagement in every game, emphasizing unity as a team and instilling confidence to overcome challenges, recognizing that our collective professionalism and teamwork are fundamental to success. I aim to continue echoing Ryan’s legacy through my actions and contributions to the ECHL officials.
 
“Appreciation is the word that resonates with me as I reflect on those who have guided me to this point,” Schamel continued. “I owe immense gratitude to my wife, Courtney, whose unwavering love allows me to pursue my passion. I am forever indebted to many others, such as the legendary Mr. Kelly, Ryan Crelin, Joe Ernst, Stephen Thomson and Riley Yerkovich for their continuous support in the ECHL. I'd like to acknowledge my beginnings in the defunct Central Hockey League, as well as the invaluable guidance from mentors Wayne Bonney, Bryan Lewis and the late Jim Wiley. The list extends to all my fellow officials throughout multiple leagues, the ECHL officiating coaches, the professionals in the ECHL office, as well as several team coaches and players.
 
“Graciously, I offer my final sincere ‘thank you’ to all who believe I am worthy of such an award. The friendships and memories we make are the most rewarding.”
 
The 2023-24 season was Schamel’s 10th season with the ECHL. His officiating career began with USA Hockey, where he officiated games at the grassroots level, fostering an understanding of the sport's nuances. He went on to gain diverse experience in various leagues, including the American Collegiate Hockey Association, North American Hockey League, and Western States Hockey League.
 
Schamel entered the professional ranks when he joined the Central Hockey League, where he worked for four seasons, before making the transition to the ECHL. He was selected to serve as a linesman for the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic in Wichita.
 
“It is an honor and privilege to recognize Chuck for his contributions to the ECHL Officiating Team,” said ECHL Manager of Officiating Riley Yerkovich. “Selected by his peers to receive the Birmingham Memorial Award, Chuck has been a steadfast presence in the Mountain Division for many years, dating back to his time in the CHL. Beyond his performance on the ice, Chuck has served as a mentor to many young officials, including myself during my tenure as a referee in the ECHL. His calming presence and character are highly valued by all of us on and off the ice, and we would like to congratulate him on his selection for such a meaningful award.”
 
The ECHL will present the award to Schamel during the 2024-25 season.
 
The 2007-08 edition of the ECHL Rule Book was dedicated to the memory of Birmingham, who was featured on the back cover, and ECHL on-ice officials wore a commemorative patch on their left shoulder that had 60, which is the number that Birmingham wore, and the initials RJB.
 
Birmingham began his officiating career when he was 12 years old in the Southgate Minor Hockey Association and worked his way into the USA Hockey Junior Officiating Development Program in 2003. Birmingham was hired as a full-time linesman by the ECHL in 2006 and worked 83 games in the regular season and four games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, including his final game, Florida at Charlotte, on April 17, 2007.
 
There are 40 former ECHL officials who are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2023-24 with referees Riley Brace, Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Mitch Dunning, Trevor Hanson, Beau Halkidis, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, Morgan MacPhee, Michael Markovic, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Carter Sandlak, Graham Skilliter, Furman South, Justin St. Pierre and linesmen Steve Barton, Ryan Daisy, Julien Fournier, Brandon Gawryletz, Brandon Grillo, Mitchell Hunt, Trent Knorr, Matt MacPherson, Jesse Marquis, Kilian McNamara, Bevin Mills, C.J. Murray, Kory Nagy, Ben O’Quinn and Bryan Pancich.
 
Thirty-three of the 77 referees working in the American Hockey League, came from the ECHL, while 77 of the 164 linespeople in the AHL have worked games in the ECHL.
 
Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award Winners
2023-24           Chuck Schamel
2022-23           Nolan Bloyer
2021-22           Christopher Williams
2020-21           Sean MacFarlane
2019-20           Andrew Bruggeman
2018-19           Patrick Richardson
2017-18           Charlie O’Connor
2016-17           Scott DeBaugh
2015-16           Camden Nuckols and Oliver “Butch” Mousseaux
2014-15           Scott Senger
2013-14           Travis Jackson
2012-13            Brad Phillips
2011-12           Jason Rollins
2010-11           Paul Carnathan
2009-10           Ray King
2008-09           Michel Voyer
2007-08           David Jones
 

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