Kelly Cup Playoffs Picture
Becoming Clearer

Entering the final month of the regular season, six more teams have qualified for the 2003 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

In the Northwest Division, Toledo returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason in 2002 while Peoria has qualified for the postseason for the seventh time in its seven-year history. Toledo has only missed the playoffs twice in its 12-year history (2000 and 2002) and won back-to-back East Coast Hockey League titles in 1993 and 1994. Peoria lost to Johnstown in the Northwest Division Semifinals in 2002 after advancing to the Northern Conference Finals in 2001 and winning the Kelly Cup in 2000.

In the Southeast Division, Columbia has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second time in its two-year history and South Carolina has qualified for the postseason for the 10th time in 10 seasons. The Inferno lost to Pee Dee in the Southeast Division Semifinals in 2002. The Stingrays remain the only team in history to win both the Brabham Cup, awarded to the regular season point champion, and the Kelly Cup, accomplishing the feat in 1996-97. South Carolina is the only two-time Kelly Cup Champion, winning again in 2001. Hampton Roads has the most East Coast Hockey League titles with three, winning the Jack Riley Cup in 1991 and 1992 and the Kelly Cup in 1998, while Toledo won the Riley Cup in 1993 and 1994. Florida begins the week with 74 points and needs only one point from its wins and overtime/shootout losses or from losses by Columbus to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth time in its five-year history.

Pensacola has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second straight season while Arkansas returns to the postseason for the first time since 2001 and the second time in its four-year history. Pensacola and Arkansas join Louisiana and Mississippi in the Southwest Division postseason. Jackson enters the week with 61 points and needs a combination of four points from its wins and overtime/shootout losses or from losses by Baton Rouge to secure the fifth and final berth in the Southwest Division. Pensacola is in the playoffs for the fifth time in its seven-year history that includes an appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals in 1998.

The 2003 Kelly Cup Playoffs consist of four teams from the Northeast Division and the Northwest Division and five teams from the Southeast Division and the Southwest Division. In the Northern Conference, the four teams with the highest regular season point totals in each division will qualify for the playoffs. The Northeast Division Semifinals and the Northwest Division Semifinals are best-of-five series and will be played April 1-10. The Northeast Division Finals and the Northwest Division Finals are best-of-five series and will be played April 11-20. The Northern Conference Finals are best-of-seven series and will be played April 22-May 4.

In the Southern Conference, the five teams with the highest regular season point totals in each division will qualify for the playoffs. In each division, the fourth-place finisher will host the fifth-place finisher in a Wild Card Game on April 1 with the winner advancing to the Division Semifinals. The Southeast Division Semifinals and the Southwest Division Semifinals are best-of-five series and will be played April 2-10. The Southeast Division Finals and the Southwest Division Finals are best-of-five series and will be played April 11-20. The Southern Conference Finals are best-of-seven series and will be played April 22-May 4.

The Kelly Cup Finals are a best-of-seven series and will be played May 6-19.