2015 AAHLBC Convention Recap
2015-09-15 : Hershey, PA
Though it officially is a Friday to Sunday event, the 51st annual Booster Club Convention began to take shape on a sunny September Wednesday afternoon, and ran through the weekend. Just over 240 attendees representing 25 current, long gone, and recently departed AHL franchises spent the weekend based at Albany’s Desmond Hotel getting acquainted with friends, touring the region, and hitting some of the many fine restaurants in the area for lunch & dinners.
There’ve been a number of articles written about the Convention over the years, and the feedback on them have indicated that they tell a story, but this year, we’ve decided to take a different approach – we’re going to let the pictures do the talking, with minimal commentary to explain what you’re seeing. I’d like to thank you to Hershey’s Dennis Gottesman, Bridgeport’s Lori Gomez-Uilecan, Rochester’s David Sturm and Manchester’s Steve Belforti and the people at Otter Concepts Ltd. for the terrific pictures and for granting me permission to use them on these pages. I hope you will enjoy the “trip” as well.
With the numerous early arrivals on Wednesday, a new event has sprung up – the annual Jeremy Hall Memorial Room crawl. This room-to-room walking fundraiser was created last year as a fun way to raise a little money for Jeremy, who was battling cancer and some steep medical bills. Jeremy lost the fight this past season, but people decided to continue the crawl, and each year, money will be given to a “family member in need”, as a means of showing our support.
Thursday is mostly for individual touring, and there was plenty of that. Nearly a dozen of us went golfing, while others toured as far as Vermont & the Adirondacks.
The big trip Friday was a river cruise, as we got a nice buffet lunch and a rundown of the history of the Capital Region.
Friday evening was the theme party, and with “The 70’s” and “A Night at the Disco” as the starting points, there was a lot of room to maneuver. There were several Disco Balls, and it seemed that the 60’s made more than a token appearance at the festivities, but the outfits were entertaining, to say the least.
After the Saturday morning raffle sales and General meeting, the last of the side trips took off. The Trolley ride of Albany was a memorable tour, as it included a stop at the New York State museum, including a 9-11 memorial that really hit home for many as the trip was only one day removed from the anniversary.
Saturday night is our annual attempt to show how well hockey fans clean up, and we were in fine form this night. It was a great dinner, guest speakers, and a final night in the hospitality room before Sunday’s departure.
Sunday morning is for breakfast, hugs and kisses, and all were in abundant supply for all. It’s tough to squeeze as much fun into a weekend as we do, but we manage to have a blast every time.
Thanks to the Albany & Utica Devils Booster Clubs, our hosts, as well as the staff at the Desmond Hotel, who were there when we needed them. Thanks to the Convention E-Board for all their efforts as well. We are already looking forward to next year’s Convention, set for the weekend of September 9th through the 11th. Springfield will be the hosts, and we are all ready for the next edition of the family reunion!
Photos from this event are located on the photos page.
Written By: Tom Mara, Hershey Bears Booster Club