The Charlotte Checkers are pleased to announce that they have nominated Mary Grams as their IOA/American Specialty Person of the Year for the 2021-22 season. The American Hockey League program recognizes one winner from each team that has played an important role in supporting their team and community.
Grams, the Checkers’ VP of Corporate Partnerships, played a key role in restoring the team’s business operations following an 18-month absence while also driving many of the team’s community elements and conducting her own charitable efforts.
Despite opting out of the 2020-21 season, the Checkers’ corporate sales department, led by Grams, was able to retain 95 percent of its partnerships heading into the 2021-22 campaign. That, combined with the addition of key new partners, saw the team match its total sponsor value from the season prior to the pandemic when it was coming off a Calder Cup Championship. The Checkers continued that momentum throughout the season, meeting their annual sponsorship goal in February with months to spare.
Grams also organized many of the team’s sponsor-driven charitable components throughout the season. For the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Novant Health, Grams oversaw the delivery of a record 4,000 stuffed animals to several local nonprofit organizations. She also organized a March of Dimes Night and diaper drive on behalf of Piedmont Natural Gas, a food drive on behalf of Farm Bureau Insurance, and managed thousands of dollars worth of donations to the Independence Fund and Save our Allies through various auctions.
In her own time, Grams, who lost her mother to ALS, raised $22,500 for the ALS Association during the season, bringing her personal fundraising total past $200,000 over her years spent working with the organization. She also volunteers her time with a local hospice.