The ECHL and its member teams mourn the loss and express their condolences to the family and friends of League co-founder, and 2008 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Henry Brabham, who passed away at the age of 90.
“On behalf of June and myself, we extend our deepest condolences to Henry’s wife, Sarah, and his family, as we spent countless hours together working to build the ECHL,” said Commissioner Emeritus, Patrick J. Kelly. “His vision to form this League has helped advance a lot of people’s careers in professional hockey and he will deeply missed.”
In the summer of 1988, Brabham, along with Bill Coffey, traveled up and down the east coast in search of cities and arenas to host teams for the inaugural season of the ECHL in 1988-89. The League’s first season featured five teams, three of which were owned by Brabham, including the legendary Johnstown Chiefs, who were the last original ECHL team to play in their original city. The dedication of the Virginia businessman was crucial to the league surviving to span from coast-to-coast while advancing more than 670 players and countless coaches, on-ice officials and front office personnel to the National Hockey League.
“There is no question in my mind, that without Henry Brabham, there is no ECHL,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “It is a tremendously sad day for the League as we lose one of our founding members, but this is also an opportunity to be thankful for his commitment to the sport of hockey and his willingness to create the foundation for what the ECHL has become.”
To honor his dedication and foresight in founding the League, the ECHL regular-season championship trophy, the Henry Brabham Cup, is named in his honor.
Brabham was part of the inaugural inductee class into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008, along with Patrick J. Kelly, Chris Valicevic and Nick Vitucci.