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Infront Leadership Award presented to Kölner Haie CEO

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Philipp Walter presented with second edition of award at Hockey Business Forum

Zug, Switzerland – Infront and the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (E.H.C.) have named Kölner Haie ice hockey club CEO Philipp Walter as the winner of the second Infront Leadership Award.

The award, presented jointly by Infront and E.H.C., recognises distinguished leadership of an individual in European club ice hockey, based on outstanding commercial and social achievements at their club and the connected community.

Since being named CEO in June 2018 Walter managed through various commercial initiatives to considerably increase the club’s revenue from ticketing, merchandising and hospitality, which substantially improved the financial performance of the club.   

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Walter established the successful ticketing campaign “immerwigger” which engaged the clubs fan community and allowed supporters to purchase symbolic, digital tickets, which proceeds were used to secure the future of the club in a particularly difficult season. 

Walter also helped drive a corporate social responsibility program focused on creating a clean city, with staff and players of the club removing several bags of waste away from the LANXESS arena, advocating for the local area to keep the city clean.

Bruno Marty, Infront Senior Vice President of ProSports said: “Philipp has illustrated that with enough initiative and drive, anything can be achieved both on the commercial and community side. His combined efforts to propel Kölner Haie as a business, creating revenue streams despite the challenges of the last 18 months and efforts to ensure it becomes a more sustainable club make him the perfect choice for this award.”

Szymon Szemberg, Managing Director of the E.H.C. Alliance said: “Kölner Haie has been on an upward trajectory commercially for several years and it is no coincidence that Philipp has been at the head of this. He is an astute operator who has managed to deepen the connection between new and old fans alike whilst steadying the ship commercially.”

A panel representing Infront, E.H.C., Champions Hockey League (CHL) and Hockey Europe were responsible for picking the winner.

About the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs

The alliance was formally founded on 13 June 2016 at the E.H.C.’s first Annual General Meeting in Berlin, by some 70 clubs from 13 European countries. Ice hockey thus became the third major European team sport, after football’s European Club Association (ECA) and Forum Club Handball (FCH), to found a club alliance with the mandate to look after and promote the interests of the professional hockey clubs and represent them internationally. The E.H.C. currently has 87 member clubs from 16 European countries.

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