GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League on Tuesday announced that Larry Figurski, sports anchor and reporter for WOOD TV8 and color commentator for Grand Rapids Griffins games on Newsradio WOOD 1300 and 106.9 FM, has been selected as the recipient of the James H. Ellery Memorial Award for the 2019-20 season.
The James H. Ellery Memorial Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding media coverage of the AHL. It was first presented in 1964-65 and honors the late Jim Ellery, who served the AHL for 17 years as league secretary and publicity director until his death in 1964.
Figurski’s honor comes 10 years after broadcast partner Bob Kaser, the Griffins’ play-by-play voice and vice president of community relations and broadcasting, won the 2009-10 Ellery Award in the Radio category. (The AHL recognized separate honorees in the Newspaper, Radio, and TV categories from 1975-96 through 2012-13 before selecting one winner for each of the last seven seasons.)
An Emmy Award winner and one of Grand Rapids’ most popular television personalities, Figurski has worked in the West Michigan TV market since 1996 and at WOOD TV8 since 2000 in both the news and sports departments. He is a regular at Griffins team practices, frequently reports live from Van Andel Arena prior to games, and often travels to provide exclusive road coverage of the team during the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Figurski hosts a weekly “Sports Overtime” show, inviting members of the Griffins as guests several times throughout the year. In June, he worked with the Griffins to produce a rebroadcast of their 2017 Calder Cup championship on WXSP-TV, co-hosting the event with Kaser and conducting interviews with players and coaches via video conference.
As the Griffins’ primary broadcast team since 2000, Kaser and Figurski are 10-time winners of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Excellence Award. Figurski is also a regular participant in Griffins community events, including the Great Skate Winterfest and the Griffins/Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey game.
“Larry Figurski loves the game of hockey, the Griffins and the American Hockey League as much as anyone I know, and this award will mean more to him than you can imagine,” said Kaser. “I am so thankful for the AHL’s recognition of Larry and am proud to have him as my broadcast partner.”
Figurski becomes the fifth Ellery Award winner from the Grand Rapids market over the Griffins’ 19 seasons of league membership, joining Kaser (2009-10, Radio), former Fox 17 sports director Tim Doty (2007-08, TV), former Grand Rapids Press sportswriter Joe Conklin (2002-03, Newspaper), and WOOD TV8 (2001-02, TV).