FALCONS TO PRESENT ANNUAL GOLDEN STRIPES AWARD
--Ceremony Part of “Referee Appreciation Night”--
Springfield, MA – The Springfield Falcons, proud members of the American Hockey League, announced today they will host their 6th Annual “Referee Appreciation Night” on Friday, April 1, 2011 when the Falcons host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the MassMutual Center. On this special evening, the sixth recipient of the “Golden Stripes Award” will be honored prior to the game. The “Golden Stripes Award” will be presented this year to Mr. Greg Pytka.
Pytka has been a member of the officiating community for more than 30 years and has been the acting Western Massachusetts Ice Hockey Commissioner for the last eight years. Pytka also served as the secretary/treasurer of the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association for five years.
“It’s with tremendous honor that we present this special award to a gentleman so well deserving,” said Falcons Senior Vice President Bob Oliver. “His devotion to the duties of officiating, the sport of hockey and our community is something that we all strongly admire.”
Pytka has served as an official to a variety of hockey levels throughout his impressive career. Pytka has served as an official to USA hockey for 30 years, been a member of the Boston Metro League for 28 years, been a member of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association for 25 years, been a referee within the Eastern College Athletic Conference for 22 years, as well as being part of the New England Junior League for 14 years and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for five years.
“There are no words to describe how excited I am at this time to be a recipient for this prestigious award,” said Pytka. “In looking at past nominees of this award, it makes me realize that I have been placed into this class of elite officials and administrators whom I've had the utmost respect for throughout my officiating career.”
Pytka is a graduate of Western New England College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 1977 and an MBA in Human Resources in 2000. Pytka has been employed by Hasbro Games for 18 years and currently serves as their Human Resources Manager - Administrative Services. He has also served as a volunteer to East Longmeadow Elementary Schools, the March of Dimes annual Walk for Babies, the Pioneer Valley United Way’s Annual Day of Caring Program and the annual Sled Hockey Tournament at Amelia Park.
The “Golden Stripes Award” is awarded annually to an On-Ice Official whose work within Western Massachusetts has selflessly demonstrated the essential characteristics of dedication, fairplay, positive attitude and communication skills. This individual has also shown an overwhelming desire to “give back” to the officiating community by volunteering his time off the ice as well, all the while leaving a positive lasting impression on his peers.
Previous “Golden Stripes Award” winners include: Mark Sampson (2010), Joe Buchholz (2009), William Sapelli (2008), Alfred Pinciak (2007), Alfred “Fred” Zanetti (2006).