Patrick Kelly Joins Trophy On First Stop In Victoria
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Third-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will begin on Friday with the ECHL championship trophy making its first trip outside the United States when it heads to British Columbia for the Victoria Salmon Kings games on Friday and Saturday.
ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly, the man for whom the postseason trophy is named, will join the Kelly Cup at Save-On-Foods Centre on Friday and Saturday. The trophy is also accompanied by a full-color display that highlights the intensity and excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Kelly Cup, which 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, 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 50-day tour is scheduled to visit 11 cities in nine states and one Canadian province and will cover 10,339 miles which is the greatest distance traveled in one year since the Kelly Cup Tour began in 2004. Each of the 25 teams in the ECHL were offered the opportunity to have the Kelly Cup visit their arena during the tour which was created to give fans the chance to view the coveted trophy presented annually to the ECHL postseason champion since 1997 and won in 2005 by the Trenton Titans.
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.
After its two days in Victoria, the Kelly Cup will travel to West Valley City, Utah where the first-year member Utah Grizzlies will display it during their Feb. 17 game.
Feb. 18 and 19 will find the Kelly Cup in Stockton, Calif., home of the Thunder who are averaging 6,361 per game, the highest average attendance in the ECHL since 2001-02, in their first season.
The Kelly Cup will visit Pennsylvania and original ECHL member Johnstown on Feb. 24-25 and remains in the North Division on Mar. 3-4 with a trip to Toledo, Ohio and Mar. 5 at Wheeling, W.Va.
The tour heads south on Mar. 10-11 to Greenville, S.C., home of the 2002 Kelly Cup Champion Greenville Grrrowl, and to Charlotte, N.C. on Mar. 12.
The Gwinnett Gladiators host the Kelly Cup on Mar. 18 before it travels on Mar. 24-25 to Boise, Idaho, home of the 2004 Kelly Cup Champion Idaho Steelheads.
The tour ends on Mar. 31 in North Charleston, S.C. which is the home of the only two-time Kelly Cup Champions, the South Carolina Stingrays who won the trophy in 1997 and 2001.
The Kelly Cup is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL 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.
2006 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
Feb. 10-11 at Victoria, British Columbia
Feb. 17 at West Valley City, Utah
Feb. 18-19 at Stockton, Calif.
Feb. 24-25 at Johnstown, Pa.
Mar. 3-4 at Toledo, Ohio
Mar. 5 at Wheeling, W.Va.
Mar. 10-11 at Greenville, S.C.
Mar. 12 at Charlotte, N.C.
Mar. 18 at Duluth, Ga.
Mar. 24-25 at Boise, Idaho
Mar. 31 at 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.)
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
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 in 2005 came from the National Conference (Trenton) and in 2004 came from the Western Conference (Idaho). 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 nine 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).
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 once in ECHL history has a team finished first in the regular season and gone on to win in the postseason – South Carolina in 1997.
The Idaho Steelheads hold the distinction of being the Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest west and also the furthest north. The latitude of Boise, Idaho is 43.64564 N while its longitude is 116.13285 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 10 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 the head coach of Trenton when it won in 2005 while Steve Munn played for Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005.