The Newfoundland Growlers won the ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Tuesday defeating the Toledo Walleye 4-3 at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland in Game 6 of the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals presented by SmileDirectClub.
Newfoundland is the first team to win the ECHL title in its first season of existence since the Greensboro Monarchs in 1990. Two other teams won the Kelly Cup in their first season in the ECHL. Idaho captured the title in 2004 after joining the ECHL as an expansion team in 2003-04 after the league welcomed teams from the former West Coast Hockey League, and Allen won the 2015 championship after joining as an expansion team in 2014-15 after the league welcomed teams from the former Central Hockey League.
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 66th season in hockey in 2018-19, 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 31st season in 2018-19, 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.
O’Brien wins Most Valuable Player award
Newfoundland’s Zach O’Brien earned the June M. Kelly Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award. O’Brien led all players in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs with 16 goals and 29 points. The 16 goals are tied for the second most in a single postseason in ECHL history, just one behind the league record of 17, which was set by Richmond’s Blaine Moore in 1995 and matched by Peoria’s J.F. Boutin in 2000.
The Playoffs Most Valuable Trophy was renamed earlier this year in honor of June M. Kelly, the wife of ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly, whom the Kelly Cup is named after. Mrs. Kelly was an integral part of the ECHL behind the scenes during her husband’s tenure as Commissioner from the League’s inaugural season in 1988-89 through his retirement following the 1995-96 season.
Growlers’ Jardine earns second title
It was the second Kelly Cup title for Newfoundland defenseman Sam Jardine, who previously captured a championship with Colorado in 2017. Jardine’s two titles brings the total number of individuals to win multiple Kelly Cup titles to 49.
Snowden leads Growlers to title in first season
Newfoundland head coach John Snowden becomes the fourth coach to lead a team to an ECHL championship in his first season as a head coach, joining Colorado’s Aaron Schneekloth (2017), Greensboro’s Jeff Brubaker (1990) and Carolina’s Brandan Watson (1989).
John Brophy, a 2009 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, is the ECHL all-time leader with three championships, leading Hampton Roads to Riley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992 and Kelly Cup championship in 1998. The other five other coaches who have won multiple championships are Chris McSorley, who won Riley Cup championships with Toledo in 1992 and 1993; John Marks, a 2012 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee, led Charlotte to the 1996 Riley Cup title and Greenville to the 2002 Kelly Cup championship; Mike Haviland won Kelly Cup titles with Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005; Chuck Weber coached Kelly Cup winning teams in Cincinnati in 2008 and 2010 and Steve Martinson captured Kelly Cup titles with Allen in 2015 and 2016.
Toledo’s Register moves up on Finals all-time lists
Toledo defenseman Matt Register was appearing in the Kelly Cup Finals for fourth consecutive season after capturing titles with Allen in 2016 and Colorado in 2017 and 2018. Register, who has appeared in an ECHL record 124 career postseason record, notched seven assists in the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals, giving him a total of 14 career Finals assists, which ranks second all-time, just two behind the all-time leader, and 19 points, which is third behind Berger (27) and Greg Puhalski (20).
Growlers are 14th Kelly Cup champion with home ice
Newfoundland is the 14th team in 23 years, and the sixth in the last seven years, to win the Kelly Cup with home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Colorado (2017), Allen (2016), Allen (2015), Alaska (2014), Reading (2013), Alaska (2011), Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Greenville (2002), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999) and South Carolina (1997). Overall, 19 of the 31 ECHL champions have had home-ice advantage with Charlotte (1996), Richmond (1995), Toledo (1994) and Hampton Roads (1991 and 1992) capturing Riley Cup titles.
Celebration at home & on road
For the 14th time in ECHL history, the decisive game in the Finals was won at home. The other Kelly Cup winners who have clinched at home are Allen (2015 and 2016), Florida (2012), Cincinnati (2010 and 2008), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001), Peoria (2000) and Mississippi (1999), while the Riley Cup was clinched at home by Richmond (1995), Toledo (1993) and Hampton Roads (1991).
The 17 winners on the road are: Colorado (2017 and 2018), Alaska (2014), Reading (2013), Alaska (2011), South Carolina (2009), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Trenton (2005), Greenville (2002), Hampton Roads (1998) and South Carolina (1997). The Riley Cup was won on the road five times with Charlotte (1996), Toledo (1994), Hampton Roads (1992), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989).
Kelly Cup championship banners in 11 states, one province
Eleven different states and one Canadian province have produced the 23 Kelly Cup champions. South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 22 winners of the Kelly Cup while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006, 2011 and 2014) has three championships. Colorado (Colorado Eagles in 2017 and 2018), Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005), Ohio (Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008 and 2010) and Texas (Allen Americans in 2015 and 2016) all have two champions. The other six champions have been from Florida (Florida Everblades – 2012), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen – 2000), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves – 1999), Newfoundland and Labrador (Newfoundland Growlers – 2019), Pennsylvania (Reading Royals – 2013) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals – 1998).
ECHL champions from 13 states, one province
In the first 31 years of the ECHL, Ohio (Toledo Storm in 1993 and 1994 and Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008 and 2010), 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. Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006, 2011 and 2014) and North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds in 1989, Greensboro Monarchs in 1990 and Charlotte Checkers in 1996) both have three champions while Colorado (Colorado Eagles in 2017 and 2018), Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) and Texas (Allen Americans in 2015 and 2016) have two apiece. Florida (Florida Everblades in 2012), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 2000), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999), Newfoundland and Labrador (Newfoundland Growlers in 2019) and Pennsylvania (Reading Royals in 2013) each have one winner.
Kelly Cup Finals available online for 16th consecutive year
Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live on ECHL.TV, powered by Endeavour Streaming. It marked the 16th straight season that every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was available for viewing.
2019 Kelly Cup Finals
Game 1 – Toledo 3 at NEWFOUNDLAND 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Toledo 1 at NEWFOUNDLAND 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Newfoundland 1 at TOLEDO 4
Game 4 – NEWFOUNDLAND 4 at Toledo 2
Game 5 – Newfoundland 2 at TOLEDO 3
Game 6 – Toledo 3 at NEWFOUNDLAND 4
Kelly Cup Champions
2019 – Newfoundland defeated Toledo, 4 games to 2
2018 – Colorado defeated Florida, 4 games to 3
2017 – Colorado defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 0
2016 – Allen defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
2015 – Allen defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 3
2014 – Alaska defeated Cincinnati, 4 games to 2
2013 – Reading defeated Stockton, 4 games to 1
2012 – Florida defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 1
2011 – Alaska defeated Kalamazoo, 4 games to 1
2010 – Cincinnati defeated Idaho, 4 games to 1
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
Riley Cup Champions
1996 – Charlotte defeated Jacksonville, 4 games to 0
1995 – Richmond defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1994 – Toledo defeated Raleigh, 4 games to 1
1993 – Toledo defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
1992 – Hampton Roads defeated Louisville, 4 games to 0
1991 – Hampton Roads defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1990 – Greensboro defeated Winston-Salem, 4 games to 1
1989 – Carolina defeated Johnstown, 4 games to 3
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 31st season in 2018-19. There have been 661 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 19 who made their NHL debuts in the 2018-19 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2018-19, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.