PRINCETON, N.J. – The Alaska Aces clinched their third consecutive Brabham Cup championship on Saturday by virtue of a 2-1 win at Colorado. Alaska, which became the first team to win back-to-back Brabham Cups last season, extends its record for most consecutive regular-season championships.
This marks the ECHL-record fourth time Alaska has won the ECHL’s regular-season championship. The Aces won the Kelly Cup the first two times they captured the Brabham Cup in 2006 and 2011 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals last season.
Alaska reached the 100-point plateau for the third time in club history (2005-06 and 2006-07) on Friday with a 5-3 win at Colorado becoming the first ECHL team since Idaho in 2009-10 to record at least 100 points in a season. The Aces are the 28th team in the 25-year history of the ECHL to reach 100 points. Entering the final week of the season, Alaska is 48-15-7 and has clinched the Mountain Division title for the third consecutive season.
The Brabham Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the ECHL team that finishes with the most points in the regular season. The recipient is guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout its participation in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The award is named in recognition of Henry Brabham, who founded the ECHL in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Brabham, who was the first inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008, owned three of the original five teams. The dedication of the Virginia businessman was crucial to the league surviving to span from coast-to-coast while advancing 507 players and countless coaches, on-ice officials and front office personnel to the National Hockey League.
Alaska won its first Brabham Cup championship in 2005-06 when it led the ECHL with 113 points. The Aces went on to defeat Gwinnett in five games to become just the second team in ECH history to win both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup in the same season. In 2010-11, the Aces led the league with 97 points, and went on to defeat Kalamazoo 4 games to 1 in the Kelly Cup Finals becoming the fourth team to win both the regular season and postseason championship in league history. Last season, Alaska once again recorded 97 points before falling to Las Vegas 4 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals. Alaska has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its 10 seasons in the ECHL, and has advanced past the first round in eight of the previous nine seasons.
Brabham Cup Trophy Winners
|2012||Alaska Aces||97 points|
|2011||Alaska Aces||97 points|
|2010||Idaho Steelheads||103 points|
|2009||Florida Everblades||105 points|
|2008||Cincinnati Cyclones||115 points|
|2007||Las Vegas Wranglers||106 points|
|2006||Alaska Aces||113 points|
|2005||Pensacola Ice Pilots||107 points|
|2004||San Diego Gulls||108 points|
|2003||Toledo Storm||104 points|
|2002||Louisiana IceGators||116 points|
|2001||Trenton Devils||104 points|
|2000||Florida Everblades||108 points|
|1999||Pee Dee Pride||106 points|
|1998||Louisiana IceGators||96 points|
|1997||South Carolina Stingrays||100 points|
|1996||Richmond Renegades||105 points|
|1995||Wheeling Thunderbirds||97 points|
|1994||Knoxville Cherokees||94 points|
|1993||Wheeling Thunderbirds||88 points|
|1992||Toledo Storm||95 points|
|1991||Knoxville Cherokees||97 points|
|1990||Winston-Salem Thunderbirds||82 points|
|1989||Erie Panthers||77 points|
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 507 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.
• 17 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts this season: former Gwinnett Gladiators forward Matt Anderson (New Jersey on Jan. 29), former Stockton Thunder center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Mark Arcobello (Edmonton on Feb. 6), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman and 2010 ECHL All-Star Victor Bartley (Nashville on March 8), former Charlotte Checkers, Wheeling Nailers, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Florida Everblades and Augsuta Lynx left wing Patrick Bordeleau (Colorado on Jan. 19), former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay on Jan. 19), former Trenton Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee (New Jersey on March 9), former South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals goaltender and 2013 ECHL All-Star Philipp Grubauer (Washington on Feb. 27), former Ontario Reign and Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota on Feb. 12), former Toledo Walleye defenseman Brian Lashoff (Detroit on Jan. 21), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Petr Mrazek (Detroit on Feb. 7), former Las Vegas Wranglers, Toledo Walleye and Idaho Steelheads defenseman Steve Oleksy (Washington on March 5), former Alaska Aces right wing Anthony Peluso (Winnipeg on Feb. 12), former South Carolina Stingrays center Steve Pinizzotto (Vancouver on March 14), former Ontario Reign right wing Jon Rheault (Florida on March 5), former Reading Royals left wing Antoine Roussel (Dallas on Feb. 1), former Wheeling Nailers center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Ben Street (Calgary on Feb. 9) and former Toledo Storm right wing and 2007 ECHL All-Star Jamie Tardif (Boston on Feb. 2).
• The ECHL has had 315 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 251 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
• ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2012-13, surpassing the 81 from 2011-12 and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 30 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.