Two weeks after the Hershey Bears won the ninth Calder Cup championship of their storied history, the team’s general manager received a prestigious accolade. The AHL announced that Bears president/GM Doug Yingst has been named the 2005-06 recipient of the James C. Hendy Award given annually to the American Hockey League’s top executive. Yingst was presented with the award on Thursday night at the AHL’s annual board of governors meeting in Hilton Head, S.C.
The announcement on the league’s official web site pointed out why Yingst was chosen: “Yingst was instrumental in establishing a new affiliation agreement with the Washington Capitals which ultimately led to the Bears winning the 2006 Calder Cup Championship. Under his leadership the Bears achieved the second highest regular season attendance total (308,092) in team history and the team drew nearly 75,000 fans at Giant Center during the 2006 Calder Cup Championship run, including three sell-outs during the 2006 Calder Cup Finals.”
The upcoming 2006-07 season will be Yingst’s 25th year with the Bears’ organization. Yingst has served as the team’s president and general manager since the 1998-99 season. He also represents the Bears on the league’s board of governors and is a member of the AHL’s executive committee.
Yingst was named Hershey’s GM in 1996-97, and the team won the Calder Cup in his first season at that position. He served as Hershey’s assistant GM/director of hockey operations from 1991-96 and was the team’s assistant GM from 1988-91. He began his career in the Hershey organization in 1982 as the team’s sales and promotions director, and was promoted to PR/Marketing director in 1983.
In 1988, Yingst was named the recipient of the Ken McKenzie Award, given annually by the league to the individual who accomplished the most during the season in promoting his or her AHL team.
In winning the Hendy Award for a second time, Yingst becomes just the fourth AHL executive ever to win the award twice. He joins Jack Butterfield (1971 and 1984), Robert W. Clarke (1972 and 1993) and the late Frank Mathers (1977 and 1991) as two-time winners of the award. Mathers was Yingst’s mentor for many years with the Bears.
The Hendy Award was first given in 1961-62. The award honors James C. Hendy, a longtime contributor to the AHL and the general manager of the Cleveland Barons until his death in 1961. The award is presented yearly to the executive who has made the most outstanding contribution to the American Hockey League.