|March 29, 2013 - Mike Modugno
Director of Public Relations and Broadcaster
Kalamazoo, MI- The Kalamazoo Wings, proud member of the ECHL, three-time defending North Division Champions and National Hockey League affiliate to the Vancouver Canucks, and American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves announce the first-ever recipients of the Al Genovy Ambassador Award are R.T. “Ted” and Martha Parfet.
The Ambassador Award is named after Al Genovy, who was a pillar in the southwest Michigan community since coming to the area to play for the K-Wings in 1974.
Genovy, who passed away in February 2011, played for the K-Wings from 1974-78 and also served as an assistant coach for the team from 1974-76.
Following his retirement from hockey, Genovy contributed to the growth of the sport of hockey primarily by coaching and working with youth players.
The following is the inscription that is on the newly created K-Wings award:
“The Al Genovy Ambassador Award is named in honor of the first- ever player and first-ever team captain of the Kalamazoo Wings. Al Genovy played for the K-Wings from their 1974 inaugural season through 1978 when he retired from professional hockey.
The Al Genovy Ambassador Award honors and celebrates his lifelong accomplishments on and off the ice as an ambassador in every sense of the word.
As team captain, he helped lay the foundation making K-Wings hockey an integral part of the community.
After retiring from the K-Wings in 1978, Al went on to lead the way growing the sport of hockey throughout the region.
The recipients of this award will epitomize the character and selflessness that made Al Genovy a great ambassador of K-Wings hockey as well as the sport of hockey, and even more importantly, an exceptional individual.”
In September 1973, the Parfet’s announced they would bring professional hockey to southwest Michigan. During the nine months following the Parfet’s announcement, the K-Wings got ready for their inaugural season and the construction of Wings Stadium was completed just in time for the franchise’s first game.
For 27 years, the Parfet’s made the Kalamazoo Wings one of the most storied organizations in the International Hockey League. Under the Parfet’s, the K-Wings won the Turner Cup twice in 1978 and again in 1979.
In April 2002, after a three-year hiatus from owning the team, the Parfet’s purchased the Kalamazoo Wings from KPH, and once again gained ownership of the team they created.
One of the Parfet’s greatest gifts to southwest Michigan has been the Wings Stadium Complex. The Wings Stadium Complex is comprised of three main buildings. Wings Stadium, built in 1974, seats more than 5,100 fans for home games for the Kalamazoo Wings. A multipurpose arena, Wings Stadium can seat more than 6,000 people for concerts and other stage events. “The Annex” provides a complete ice facility for many youth and adult skating and hockey programs and hosts numerous special. Opened in 1988, “The Annex” seats 1,367 for ice events and 2,850 for non-ice events. The final of the three facilities is “The Cube,” which opened in 1998. This facility plays host to both ice and non-ice events for participants and spectators. All three buildings host approximately 500,000 guests a year, and make the Wings Stadium Complex the largest indoor facility in southwest Michigan.
A former CEO and Chairman at The Upjohn Company, Mr. Parfet, who passed away in November 2006, served on numerous Boards of Directors, including Bronson Hospital, Michigan Bell Telephone and First of America Bank.
Giving back to the community wasn’t only a commitment by Mr. Parfet; it is echoed to this very day through his wife Martha. When you think of influential women in southwest Michigan, one of the first names that are mentioned is Martha Parfet.
Mrs. Parfet has donated her efforts to help benefit the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Gryphon Place, and Acorn Women’s Apparel Stores.
When people look back at the growth of Kalamazoo, they will see the imprint left in the community by both R.T. “Ted” and Martha Parfet. While their dedication to professional hockey may have begun with Wings Stadium and the Kalamazoo Wings, their dedication to the sport of hockey and to the city in which they grew up has been life long, and because of that dedication, it has made Kalamazoo a great place to live.
For more information about tonight’s Al Genovy Ambassador Award presentation, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 226-0384.