During her tenure with the PHPA, Bender held many responsibilities including the organization of the PHPA Annual Meeting of Player Representatives, coordinating the annual Fall Enrollment Tour, while maintaining the day-to-day operations of the PHPA such as recording all player transactions (over 5000 per year) and dues invoicing in an era before computers, fax machines, email, internet, and electronic database filing. She was dedicated to all PHPA Members, and assisted Leichner, Ralph Barker, Arlo Goodwin, and Larry Landon with any initiative that would advance the well being of the PHPA Membership.
"Whether it was my position as Player Representative, Executive Committee Member, or Deputy Executive Director, Karen's unwavering commitment to the PHPA and it's Membership was evident," said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. "What she was able to accomplish in the pre-electronic years helped build a solid foundation for the PHPA and truly underlines her value to the Association. This is a well deserved honor for Karen for what she did on behalf of the players for so many years."
"To be involved with the PHPA was truly a dream job and a blessing," said Karen Bender. "Working with Curt Leichner taught me at a young age to always remember and care about the 'other guy' as he used to say, about the minor league hockey players. He would often say that the players were the sons he never had and I knew he meant that from the bottom of his heart. He worked diligently to make sure that minor league players were treated fairly, with dignity, and had a voice. I knew I had an important role and wanted to help advance his wishes and goals in my day to day responsibilities."