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Spelman College wins NHL and Thrashers' marketing challenge among Atlanta's historically black colleges @NHLdotcom
NEW YORK / ATLANTA - A team consisting of six students at Spelman college has won the National Hockey League and Atlanta Thrashers' marketing challenge among Atlanta's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), it was announced today by Kenneth Martin Jr., NHL Vice President, Community and Diversity Programming. The program, launched by the NHL and Thrashers during the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta, was designed to have students generate innovative marketing ideas and "real time" marketing plans with a focus on increasing ethnic diversity that can be potentially implemented through the NHL and its member clubs.

“Each year, the National Hockey League works with its member clubs to grow the great sport of hockey on and off the ice," said Martin. “We share a commitment to higher education with the Thrashers and are proud to have engaged Atlanta's three HBCU's in what turned out to be a very spirited and close competition. The students put forth a tremendous amount of time and effort and it showed through the terrific ideas and well thought out initiatives and programs they presented. We also join the Thrashers in our desire to leave a legacy for future generations of hockey fans and are honored to have offered this opportunity to the distinguished students at Clark, Morehouse and Spelman."

The winning Spelman team, which called it self "The Link," was under the advisement of Dr. Romie Tribble. It consisted of Victoria Beeks, Erica Boykin, Kim Hogg, Erin Jones, Ashley Johnson and Morgan Pierce. Spelman College, a private, independent, liberal arts, and historically Black college for women, also has been ranked number one among the Historically Black College and Universities, according to a recent March 21, 2008 online poll conducted by U.S. News & World Report at
The HBCU Challenge was administered in partnership with the business schools at Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, as well as the Economics department at Spelman College. The program ran throughout the second semester of the school year and the winning team was determined by a panel comprised of representatives from the NHL, Thrashers, The Symmetry Group Marketing agency and Public Relations firm of Hope-Beckham Inc. Each team’s final presentation was evaluated against the following criteria:

*Does it provide specific, measurable and achievable results?
*Does it meet the Challenge objective?
*Is it replicable to other NHL member clubs within their respective markets?

Through the HBCU Challenge, students had an opportunity to gain unique insight into the sports entertainment industry and apply lessons learned in the classroom while developing their own presentation and team-building skills. Students attended several Thrashers games throughout the 2007-08 regular season, met with NHL and Thrashers executives, and received exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of Philips Arena. In addition, the NHL's first black hockey player, Willie O'Ree, will make a scheduled appearance at each school and also meet with the teams.

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