HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Hershey Bears vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer was chosen as the recipient of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award, which is bestowed to the outstanding executive in the American Hockey League.

Helmer oversees the Bears daily operations. During his tenure, the Bears hired coach Todd Nelson who has led the Bears to a 44-19-5-4 record, which is good for their best in 13 years, and who guided Hershey to their 12th Calder Cup.

The 51-year-old helps with the business endeavors of the Bears as well and has aided in Hershey’s increase to an average attendance of over 900 fans per game.

Helmer played in the AHL and earned three of his own championships, including two with the Bears in 2009 and 2010. The 2023 title is his first off the ice. For his performance as a player, he was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2017.

Helmer is the sixth ever Hershey executive to earn the award. The members of the Bears organization who previously received the honor include Llyod S. Blinco (1968-69), Arthur Whiteman (1973-74), Frank Mathers (1976-77, 1990-91), Jay Feaster (1996-97) and Doug Yingst (1999-00, 2005-06). 

The Hershey Bears will be back in action next season starting Oct. 14 at the GIANT Center to being their Calder Cup defense.