Inaugural Kelly Cup Tour Begins
Friday In Wheeling

ECHL Trophy Will Visit Nine Cities,
Travel 7,681 Miles In 44 Days

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Tuesday the launch of the inaugural Kelly Cup Tour with the first stop on Friday in Wheeling. Every team begins the season with the goal of winning the Patrick J. Kelly Cup, presented annually to the Postseason Champion of the ECHL and won in 2003 by Atlantic City.

The 44-day tour will travel to nine ECHL cities, making appearances at games, schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events. The Kelly Cup will travel 7,681 miles during the tour, including 2,002 miles from Lafayette, Louisiana to Boise, Idaho and 2,506 miles from Boise to Atlantic City where the tour concludes April 2-3 with the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs scheduled to begin April 5.

“The level of play, intensity and excitement generated during the Kelly Cup Playoffs represents the best the ECHL has to offer,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The inaugural Kelly Cup Tour will give fans in these cities a flavor for what they can expect in their city when the battle for the league championship begins in April.”

The Kelly Cup Tour will visit Greensboro on February 26-27, Florida on March 1-2, Columbia on March 5-6, South Carolina on March 9, Gwinnett on March 12-13, Louisiana on March 19-20, and Idaho on March 26-27.

The Kelly Cup Tour offers ECHL fans the opportunity to view the coveted Patrick J. Kelly Cup, which has been awarded to the ECHL postseason champion since 1996-97. The ECHL retired its playoff championship trophy, the Jack Riley Cup, in 1996 and replaced it with the Kelly Cup, first awarded to the playoff champion in 1997. Standing 19 3/8 inches and weighing 25 3/8 pounds, the Kelly Cup features the names of players, coaches and support staff from the last seven ECHL champions. Accompanying the Kelly Cup will be a special display that highlights the intensity and excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The Kelly Cup is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who is one of the founding fathers of the ECHL. Kelly served as Commissioner of the ECHL for the first eight seasons before being named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title which he continues to hold. Kelly celebrated his 50th season in hockey in 2002-03, having begun his career with the St. Catherine Teepees of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in 1952. He played professionally for the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League, the Troy Bruins of the International Hockey League, and the Greensboro Generals of the Eastern Hockey League. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League from 1965-73 and was head coach and general manager of Charlotte in the Southern Hockey League from 1973-76. He coached the Colorado Rockies in the NHL in 1977-78 and is the only coach to lead the Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following coaching stops in the American Hockey League, he went to Peoria in the International Hockey League where he led the Rivermen to the Turner Cup in his first season in 1984-85.

There are eight individuals whose name appears on the Kelly Cup twice. Seven of the eight 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 all 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.

Seven players whose name appears on the Kelly Cup have played in the National Hockey League: Sebastien Charpentier, Hampton Roads, 1998; Chris Schmidt, Mississippi, 1999; Cody Rudkowsky and Cam Severson, Peoria, 2000; Zdenek Blatny, Simon Gamache and Luke Sellars, Greenville, 2002. There are 10 players whose name appears on the Riley Cup have played in the NHL: Bill Huard, Carolina, 1989; Wade Flaherty, Greensboro, 1990; Dave Gagnon and Olaf Kolzig, Hampton Roads, 1991; Dave Morissette and Steve Poapst, Hampton Roads, 1992; Alex Hicks, Barry Potomski and Scott King, Toledo, 1993; Dave Gagnon and Alex Hicks, Toledo, 1994; and Jan Benda, Richmond, 1995.

2004 Kelly Cup Tour

February 20
WesBanco Arena – Wheeling, West Virginia

February 26-27
Greensboro Coliseum – Greensboro, North Carolina

March 1-2
TECO Arena – Estero, Florida

March 5-6
Carolina Coliseum – Columbia, South Carolina

March 9
North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, South Carolina

March 12-13
Gwinnett Civic and Culture Center – Duluth, Georgia

March 19-20
Cajundome – Lafayette, Louisiana

March 26-27
Bank of America Centre – Boise, Idaho

April 2-3
Historic Boardwalk Hall – Atlantic City, New Jersey