PRINCETON, N.J. – The South Carolina Stingrays won their record third ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Friday beating the Alaska Aces 4-2 in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 6,610 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska.
The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who presents it each year to the postseason champion. Kelly was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. 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 55th season in professional hockey in 2007-08, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 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.
Celebrating its 21st season in 2008-09, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
The ECHL is the primary development league for the AHL and the NHL. The ECHL and the AHL are the only two minor professional hockey leagues that are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The CBA states that any player on an NHL entry-level contract designated for assignment to a minor league must report if assigned to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. A player on an NHL entry-level contract assigned to a minor professional league other than the ECHL or the AHL is not required to report and can request reassignment to a team in the ECHL or the AHL.
Rookie Reimer Named Most Valuable Player
South Carolina rookie goaltender James Reimer, who made 26 saves in Game 7, was named the Most Valuable Player after going 3-1 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 1.64 and a save percentage of .942 in the Finals. Reimer, who is under contract to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League, shared goaltending duties with Jonathan Boutin, who is under contract to the San Jose Sharks of the NHL. Reimer was 4-3 and tied for second with one shutout while ranking third with a goals-against average of 2.17 and fifth with a save percentage of .929. Boutin was 12-4 with a goals-against average of 2.67 while ranking second with 12 wins, 944 minutes and 426 and tied for second with one shutout.
Alaska rookie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who played all but 13 minutes of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, was 15-6 and led the league with four shutouts, 15 wins, a goals-against average of 1.95, 1,263 minutes and 579 saves while ranking third with a save percentage of .934. He tied the ECHL record for most shutouts in a season with 12 including a league record eight in the regular season. Maxime Gingras of Richmond had 12 shutouts in 1998-99 setting the regular season record with seven and the postseason record with five.
Stingrays Log More Miles Than Any Championship Team
South Carolina traveled more than 18,000 miles to capture the Kelly Cup. The Stingrays trekked 4,517 miles from North Charleston, S.C. to Anchorage, Alaska for Games 1 and 2 and then returned for Games 6 and 7. The 4,517 miles is the greatest distance between two teams in the history of the Kelly Cup Playoffs eclipsing the 4,444 miles between Anchorage, Alaska and Trenton, N.J. for the conference finals in 2005 and the 4,396 miles between Anchorage, Alaska and Duluth, Ga. for the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006.
South Carolina Captures Record Third Kelly Cup
The Stingrays are the first three-time winner of the Kelly Cup having won the coveted trophy the first time it was presented in 1997 and again in 2001 when they became the first two-time winner. South Carolina coach Jared Bednar becomes the first player or coach to have his name engraved on the trophy three times as he was a player in 1997 and 2001.
South Carolina’s three titles tie the ECHL record for championships held by Hampton Roads which won in 1991, 1992 and 1998. The postseason champion from 1989-1996 was presented the Riley Cup.
The Stingrays’ three appearances in the finals tie the record held by the Greensboro Monarchs (1990, 1991 and 1995), the Hampton Roads Admirals (1991, 1992 and 1998) and the Carolina/Wheeling Thunderbirds (1989, 1990 and 1993).
The Stingrays have qualified for the postseason a league record 15 times in 16 seasons and are the all-time leader with 138 postseason games and 76 postseason wins.
Game 7 Road Wins Uncommon
South Carolina became the first road team to win Game 7 in the Kelly Cup Finals and the second team to win Game 7 on the road in the Finals, joining Carolina which won 7-4 at Johnstown in the first Riley Cup Finals in 1989. The home team is 13-6 in Game 7. The other teams to win Game 7 on the road are Stockton and Elmira in the 2009 division semifinals, Dayton in the 2008 conference finals and Trenton in the 2006 conference finals.
Fifth Team Without Home Ice To Raise Cup
South Carolina is the fifth team in 13 years and the first since Trenton in 2005 to win the Kelly Cup without having home-ice advantage. The other winners are Atlantic City in 2003, South Carolina in 2001 and Hampton Roads in 1998. Twelve of the 21 league champions have had home-ice advantage.
Celebration At Home & On Road
For the 12th time in ECHL history and the second time in Stingrays history the decisive game in the Finals was won on the road. The Kelly Cup has been clinched on the road seven times in 13 years with South Carolina (2009 and 1997), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Trenton (2005), Greenville (2002), Hampton Roads (1998). The Riley Cup was won on the road five times with Hampton Roads (1992), Charlotte (1996), Toledo (1994), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989). The nine teams to clinch the ECHL championship at home are Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999), Richmond (1995), Toledo (1993) and Hampton Roads (1991).
Aces Sell Out Every Finals Game
The Alaska Aces have sold out every Kelly Cup Finals game in history including all four games in 2009. Alaska had team record crowds of 6,610 for Games 6 and 7 which sold out in 40 minutes following Game 6, the fastest sellout in history for the Sullivan Arena which opened in 1983. The Aces led the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 56,657 fans and an average of 5,666 per game. The 56,657 is the third-highest total in the last 11 years and the highest since 2006 when Alaska won the Kelly Cup and led the postseason with 66,364 fans and 6,003 per game.
Kelly Cup Championship Banners In Seven States
South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 13 winners of the Kelly Cup while Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007) and New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) have each produced two champions. The other five champions have been from Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen – 1999), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves – 1999), Ohio (Cincinnati Cyclones – 2008) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals – 1998).
ECHL Champions From Nine States
In the first 21 years of the ECHL, South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals in 1991, 1992 and 1998 and Richmond Renegades in 1995) have the most championships with four each. North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds in 1989, Greensboro Monarchs in 1990 and Charlotte Checkers in 1996) and Ohio (Toledo Storm in 1993 and 1994 and Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008) each have three champions while Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007) and New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) have two apiece. Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 1999) and Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999) each have one winner.
Stingrays’ Lacroix Sets Finals Record For Fastest Two Goals
Maxime Lacroix of the Stingrays set the ECHL record for fastest two goals in the finals when he scored twice in 13 seconds (5:56 and 6:09 of the second period) of a 4-2 win at Alaska in Game 1. Lacroix broke the record of 19 seconds set by Harry Mews of Hampton Roads, who scored at 0:48 and 1:07 of the second period in a 7-4 win at Greensboro in Game 3 of the 1991 Riley Cup Finals.
Games 4, 7 Available In 125 Markets, 33 Million Homes On B2 Television
Game 4 and Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Finals were broadcast live by B2 Television making them available in more than 33 million households in over 125 markets. Designed to broadcast live sports and entertainment, B2 Television is powered by One World Sports on America One which has televised the ECHL All-Star Game and ECHL Game of the Week.
Kelly Cup Finals On B2 Networks For Sixth Straight Year
Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live online by B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL,” for the sixth year in a row. B2 Networks has broadcast more than 2,000 regular season ECHL games and over 400 Kelly Cup Playoff games around the globe the last six years including the ECHL All-Star Game. The first hockey game broadcast by B2 Networks was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by B2 Networks was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The first channel on B2CableTV.com, a free 24-hour cable-style network dedicated to broadcasting sports and entertainment to viewers worldwide, was ECHL TV which allows fans to watch the biggest games from the previous week for free. B2CableTV.com also offers ECHLALLSTARTV which broadcasts ECHL All-Star Games 24 hours a day for free.
To watch ECHL TV and ECHLALLSTARTV fans can go to B2CableTV.com and click on the “Hockey” tab. Viewers will need a high-speed internet connection and a current version of Microsoft Windows Media Player to watch the Network. All events on ECHL TV and ECHLALLSTARTV are free of charge and available 24 hours a day.
2009 Kelly Cup Finals (Best of Seven)
South Carolina Wins Series 4-3
Game 1 – SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Alaska 2
Game 2 – South Carolina 1 at ALASKA 3
Game 3 – Alaska 2 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 – Alaska 0 at SOUTH CAROLINA 5
Game 5 – ALASKA 3 at South Carolina 2
Game 6 – South Carolina 2 at ALASKA 3
Game 7 – SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Alaska 2
Kelly Cup Champions – Here is a complete list of Kelly Cup Champions:
2009 – South Carolina defeated Alaska, 4 games to 3
2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 2
2007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 1
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