PRINCETON, N.J. – The Third-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will visit Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho on Friday and Saturday as the Idaho Steelheads host Pacific Division leader Fresno.
The Steelheads have hosted the Kelly Cup Tour every year and have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of their first three seasons in the ECHL. In its inaugural season in 2003-04, Idaho won the Kelly Cup at home on May 22, 2004 with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Everblades in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 5,374.
Boise is the 10th stop on the 50-day tour that will see the Kelly Cup visit 11 cities in nine states and one Canadian province. The Kelly Cup will travel 10,339 miles which is the greatest distance traveled in one year since the Kelly Cup Tour began in 2004. The Tour has already covered 5,647 miles across North America with stops in Victoria, British Columbia; West Valley City, Utah; Stockton, Calif.; Johnstown, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; Wheeling W.Va.; Greenville, S.C., Charlotte, N.C. and Duluth, Ga.
The Tour reaches its final destination on Mar. 31 when it travels to North Charleston, home of the South Carolina Stingrays, the only team to have won the Kelly Cup twice, capturing the inaugural trophy in 1997 and winning it again in 2001.
The Kelly Cup has gained recognition and prominence as the championship trophy of the nationwide ECHL and is a symbol of hard work, dedication and excellence at the ‘AA’ level. The Kelly Cup has been awarded to the ECHL postseason champion each season since 1997 and was won by the Trenton Titans in 2005. The Kelly Cup and the Stanley Cup were both at the ECHL All-Star Game festivities in Fresno, Calif. On Jan. 24-25, marking the seventh consecutive year that the championship trophy of the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League was displayed with the championship trophy of the National Hockey League.
The tour opened Feb. 10 in Victoria, British Columbia as the Kelly Cup traveled outside the United States for the first time. The opening stop of the tour also featured ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly, the man for whom the postseason trophy is named.
In addition to ECHL games, the trophy will make appearances at schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events in each city it visits. The Kelly Cup, which stands 19 3/8 inches tall and weighs 25 3/8 pounds, replaced the Riley Cup, which was awarded to the ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96. Accompanying the Kelly Cup is a full-color display that highlights the Kelly Cup Playoffs, scheduled to begin April 10.
2006 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
Feb. 10 Victoria, British Columbia
Feb. 11 Victoria, British Columbia
Feb. 17 West Valley City, Utah
Feb. 18 Stockton, Calif.
Feb. 19 Stockton, Calif.
Feb. 24 Johnstown, Pa.
Feb. 25 Johnstown, Pa.
Mar. 3 Toledo, Ohio
Mar. 4 Toledo, Ohio
Mar. 5 Wheeling, W.Va.
Mar. 10 Greenville, S.C.
Mar. 11 Greenville, S.C.
Mar. 12 Charlotte, N.C.
Mar. 18 Duluth, Ga.
Mar. 24 Boise, Idaho
Mar. 25 Boise, Idaho
Mar. 31 North Charleston, S.C.
2006 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
* 50 days (Feb. 10-Mar. 31)
* 11 ECHL Cities
* Distance Traveled – 10,339 miles
* Longest Travel Segment – 2,584 miles (Stockton, Calif. to Johnstown, Pa.)
* Shortest Travel Segment – 104 miles (Greenville, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C.)
Kelly Cup Champions
2005 – Trenton defeated Florida, 4 games to 2
2004 – Idaho defeated Florida, 4 games to 1
2003 – Atlantic City defeated Columbia, 4 games to 1
2002 – Greenville defeated Dayton, 4 games to 0
2001 – South Carolina defeated Trenton, 4 games to 1
2000 – Peoria defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 2
1999 – Mississippi defeated Richmond, 4 games to 3
1998 – Hampton Roads defeated Pensacola, 4 games to 2
1997 – South Carolina defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 1