PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Fourth-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will begin this weekend when the Dayton Bombers host the championship trophy for three games. The Kelly Cup stands 19 3/8 inches tall and weighs 25 3/8 pounds and is accompanied by a full-color display that chronicles and highlights the intensity and excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The 51-day tour is scheduled to visit nine cities in six states and one Canadian province traveling 13,013 miles which is the greatest distance since the Tour began in 2004. Each of the 25 teams in the ECHL were offered the opportunity to have the Kelly Cup visit their city during the tour which was created to give fans a chance to view the coveted trophy presented annually to the postseason champion of the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League since 1997 and won in 2006 by the Alaska Aces.
The Kelly Cup has gained recognition and prominence as the championship trophy of the nationwide league and is a symbol of hard work, dedication and excellence at the ‘AA’ level. It has been displayed on multiple occasions with both the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup and the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup.
The trophy is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who is one of the founding fathers of the ECHL which began with five teams in three states in 1988-89. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrated his 50th season in professional hockey in 2002-03, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins to rank second all time among professional coaches to only the legendary Scotty Bowman with 2,571 games and 1,511 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also coached in the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League, leading Peoria to the Turner Cup in 1984-85.
The trophy has visited 14 states since the Kelly Cup Tour began in 2004 and in addition to ECHL games has appeared at schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events in each city. The Kelly Cup replaced the Riley Cup which was awarded to the ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96.
Following its weekend in Ohio, the Kelly Cup travels to Stockton, Calif. which is home of the Thunder on Mar. 2 and 3. In its second season, Stockton is again leading the league in attendance with 6,978 per game which is the largest average since 2000-01.
For the second consecutive year, the Tour will stop in West Valley City, Utah on Mar. 9 and 10 at The ‘E’ Center in, home of the Utah Grizzlies and the site of the ice hockey championships during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Kelly Cup makes its first visit to Arizona on Mar. 13, hosted by the Phoenix RoadRunners at the US Airways Center, and then travels to California for a Long Beach Ice Dogs game on Mar. 16. The trip from Phoenix to Long Beach is 381 miles which is the shortest travel segment of the year.
The Tour heads outside the United States for the second straight year traveling to the Save-On-Foods Centre in British Columbia, home of the Victoria Salmon Kings, on Mar. 23 and 24. The Kelly Cup will traverse the longest leg of this year when it travels 2,725 miles from Victoria to Wheeling, W.Va. where the Nailers host it at WesBanco Arena on Mar. 30 and 31.
The trophy heads back across the country to Bakersfield for a game on Apr. 4 and then makes its final stop on Apr. 7 with a stop in North Charleston, S.C., home of the South Carolina Stingrays, who won the first-ever Kelly Cup championship in 1997.
The trophy will then head back to Anchorage, home of the defending champion Alaska Aces, for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
2007 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
Feb. 16 Dayton, Ohio
Feb. 17 Troy, Ohio
Feb. 18 Dayton, Ohio
Mar. 2-3 Stockton, Calif.
Mar. 9-10 West Valley City, Utah
Mar. 13 Phoenix
Mar. 16 Long Beach, Calif.
Mar. 23-24 Victoria, British Columbia
Mar. 30-31 Wheeling, W.Va.
Apr. 4 Bakersfield, Calif.
Apr. 7 North Charleston, S.C.
2007 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 51 days (Feb. 16-Apr. 7)
• Nine ECHL Cities
• Distance Traveled – 13,013 miles
• Longest Travel Segment – 2,725 miles (Victoria, British Columbia to Wheeling, W.Va.)
• Shortest Travel Segment – 381 miles (Phoenix to Long Beach, Calif.)
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.)
2005 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 51 days (Feb. 18-Apr. 9)
• 12 ECHL Cities – Bakersfield, Biloxi, Boise, Charlotte, Columbia, Estero, Florence, Fresno, Long Beach, North Charleston, Reading and Toledo
• Distance Traveled – 7,112 miles
• Longest Travel Segment – 2,511 miles (North Charleston, S.C. to Bakersfield, Calif.)
• Shortest Travel Segment – 78 miles (Columbia, S.C. to Florence, S.C.)
2004 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 44 Days (Feb. 20-Apr. 3)
• 10 ECHL Cities – Atlantic City, Boise, Columbia, Duluth, Estero, Florence, Greensboro, Lafayette, North Charleston and Wheeling
• Distance Traveled – 7,543 miles
• Longest Travel Segment – 2,506 miles (Boise, Idaho to Atlantic City, N.J.)
• Shortest Travel Segment – 78 miles (Columbia, S.C. to Florence, S.C.)
Kelly Cup Champions
2006 – Alaska defeated Gwinnett, 4 games to 1
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
Kelly Cup Notes
• The Kelly Cup Champion the last two seasons has been from the National Conference with Alaska in 2006 and Trenton in 2005 while Idaho was a member of the Western Conference when it won in 2004. The Kelly Cup Champion has come from the Northern Conference three times (2003 – Atlantic City, 2000 – Peoria and 1998 – Hampton Roads) and from the Southern Conference three times (2002 – Greenville, 2001 – South Carolina and 1999 – Mississippi). The first season that the Kelly Cup was awarded the ECHL did not have conferences but rather three divisions (East, North and South). The winner was South Carolina from the East Division.
• In the 10 years that the Kelly Cup has been awarded, the state of South Carolina has produced the winner three times (South Carolina in 1997 and 2001 and Greenville in 2002) and New Jersey has produced the winner twice (Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005) while Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi and Virginia have each produced one champion.
• With the exception of Hampton Roads in 1998 and Idaho in 2004, every ECHL Champion has finished in the Top Five in the regular season standings. Hampton Roads finished 18th overall and qualified for the postseason on the final day of the regular season. Idaho finished tied for 11th overall. Ironically, only twice in ECHL history has a team finished first in the regular season and gone on to win in the postseason – South Carolina in 1997 and Alaska in 2006.
• The Alaska Aces hold the distinction of being the Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest west and also the furthest north. The latitude of Anchorage, Alaska is 61.1306 N while its longitude is 149.5357 W. The Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest south (30.40334 N) is the Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999 while the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 are located the furthest east (74.431727 W).
• Twelve players whose name appears on the Kelly Cup have played in the National Hockey League: Sebastien Charpentier, Hampton Roads, 1998; Chris Schmidt and Travis Scott, Mississippi, 1999; Cody Rudkowsky and Cam Severson, Peoria, 2000; Zdenek Blatny, Simon Gamache and Luke Sellars, Greenville, 2002; Kevin Colley and Matt Yeats, Atlantic City, 2003; and Dan Ellis and Zenon Konopka, Idaho, 2004.
• Boardman Silversmiths, Inc. in Meriden, Connecticut created the Kelly Cup. Boardman also produces the Calder Cup for the American Hockey League as well as trophies for the U.S. Open tennis tournament and Masters golf tournament.
• There are 12 individuals whose name appears on the Kelly Cup twice. Seven had their name engraved for the second time while the eighth had his name engraved for the first time in 2001 when South Carolina won the Kelly Cup. Rick Adduono was assistant coach in 1997 and head coach in 2001 while Jason Fitzsimmons was a player in 1997 and assistant coach in 2001. Jared Bednar, Brad Dexter, Brett Marietti and Dave Seitz were players in both 1997 and 2001. Marty Clapton had his name first engraved in 1998 with Hampton Roads and in 2001 with South Carolina. Mike Nicholishen had his name engraved for the first time in 2001 with South Carolina and for the second time in 2003 with Atlantic City. Mike Haviland was head coach of Atlantic City when it won in 2003 and was head coach of Trenton when it won in 2005 while Steve Munn played for Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005. Peter Metcalf and Joe Talbot both had their name engraved for the first time in 2003 with Atlantic City and for the second time with Alaska in 2006.