Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Kitchener Rangers’ Chief Operating Officer and Governor Steve Bienkowski is the recipient of the OHL Executive of the Year Award for the 2011-12 season.
Bienkowski championed the 2012 expansion of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex creating a business plan that will see the Rangers Hockey Club fully fund the $10.6 million upgrade to the city owned facility. The venture will see an additional 968 seats installed providing more opportunities for fans to enjoy Kitchener Rangers hockey.
The facility will also receive new media boxes and suite expansions, new concourse, washrooms and concessions, improved accessibility, along with a dressing room upgrade for the club, new medical and training facilities for players, and business offices for staff. The renovations will also create a new Rangers “Hall of History” in time for the franchise’s 50th Anniversary celebrations next season.
“We are very fortunate to have Steve leading our business operations,” said Craig Campbell, President of the Kitchener Rangers Board of Directors. “Steve complements the vision of our entire Board in recognizing the importance of our role in supporting community. On behalf of our Board, I offer congratulations to Steve on this most deserving recognition.”
Under Bienkowski’s leadership the Rangers maintain a strong focus on their community supporting hundreds of charitable programs and non-profit organizations including: St. John Ambulance, Kitchener Sports Association, Children’s Wish Foundation, Kitchener Minor Hockey Association, House of Friendship, Kitchener Panthers Baseball Club, Food Bank of Waterloo Region , THEMUSEUM, Waterloo Regional Boxing Academy, and the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
Bienkowski, the Rangers’ COO since 2002, previously served six years on the club’s Board of Director’s Executive Committee. He is also a graduate of the league playing two seasons with the Rangers from 1979-81 winning an OHL Championship in his final season. His tireless efforts have also been recognized by the community as Bienkowski received the 2011 Citizen of the Year Award bestowed by the Lions Club of Kitchener, and also recently received the Order of St. John from the Governor General of Canada in recognition of his many years of volunteer service to St. John Ambulance.
The OHL Executive of the Year Award is presented annually to the executive whose team demonstrates success both on the ice and at the administration level through excellent organization and franchise success. The winner is selected by the League’s Executive Council.
This marks Bienkowski’s second OHL Executive of the Year Award having first received the honour following the Rangers’ Memorial Cup-winning season in 2002-03. Other recipients of the award include Craig Goslin of the Saginaw Spirit who won the award back-to-back in 2005-06 and 2006-07, followed by Denise Burke of the Niagara IceDogs in 2007-08, Warren Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires in 2008-09, Rick Gaetz of the Guelph Storm in 2009-10, and Dale DeGray of the Owen Sound Attack who won the award last season.
Bienkowski will be formally presented with the OHL’s Executive of the Year Award at the league’s annual award ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
- From OHL new release