The Charlotte Checkers were recognized for Unique Community Relations Initiative and Unique Sponsorship Package as part of the American Hockey League’s Team Business Services awards presentation at Hilton Head Island, SC, on Wednesday.

The Checkers’ Community Relations Initiative award came from their partnership with Verizon Wireless for the “Pass it Forward” program. In its first season, the program saw Checkers players and staff surprise patrons at local businesses with gift cards in exchange for agreeing to do another good deed for someone else.

Throughout the season, the Checkers and Verizon Wireless distributed $20,000 in gift cards at 10 events held at partner locations including American Burger Company, Bojangles’, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Harris Teeter, Maggiano’s, Pizza Peel, Safe Alliance and Bojangles’ Coliseum, all while encouraging the recipients to “Pass it Forward” in the community.

The team’s corporate sales staff also received an award for Most Unique Sponsorship Package or Entitlement for the HomeTrust Bank “Vault” at Bojangles’ Coliseum. As part of that promotion, the team added branding to the steel Zamboni door in the building, which resembled a bank vault, and held trivia contests and other games that resulted in fans “opening the vault” to receive prizes from the Checkers and HomeTrust Bank.

In addition to the Team Business Services awards received Wednesday, the Checkers’ corporate department was also recognized for creating a 10 percent growth in corporate cash at the AHL’s annual Marketing Meeting held in Phoenix, AZ, last month.