Recap of 2022 Kelly Cup Finals
The Florida Everblades won the ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Saturday defeating the Toledo Walleye 4-2 at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida in Game 5 of the 2022 Kelly Cup Finals.
It is the second championship in the Everblades’ 24-season history after they previously captured the title in 2012. Florida has advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals five times, the second most Finals appearances in ECHL history.
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 69th season in hockey in 2021-22, 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 34th season in 2021-22, 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.
Johnson wins Most Valuable Player award
Florida goaltender Cam Johnson earned the June M. Kelly Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award. Johnson went 15-3 in 18 appearances during the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 1.90 goals-against average and a save percentage of .931. His four shutouts are tied for the second most in a single postseason in ECHL history. Johnson is the first goaltender to receive the Playoffs MVP award since Cincinnati’s Rob Madore in 2014.
The Playoffs Most Valuable Trophy was renamed in 2019 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.
Everblades’ Neuber earns second title
It was the second Kelly Cup title for Florida forward Kyle Neuber, who previously captured a championship with Allen in 2016. Neuber’s two titles brings the total number of individuals to win multiple Kelly Cup titles to 52.
Ralph leads Everblades to titles, sets records in process
During the course of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Florida head coach Brad Ralph surpassed John Brophy for the most postseason wins in ECHL history. Ralph ended the playoffs with 63 wins, while Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Finals was the 108th career ECHL postseason game he has coached, tying Matt Thomas for the most playoff games coached in league history.
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 a Kelly Cup championship in 1998. Five other coaches have won multiple championships: 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.
Four of five games in Finals feature capacity crowds
Games 1 and 2 in Toledo and Games 4 and 5 in Florida all welcomed standing-room only crowds. There were 8,600 fans for both games in Toledo at Huntington Center (capacity 7,431). Game 3 in Florida had a crowd of 7,535 while Game 4 welcomed 7,674 fans at Hertz Arena (capacity 7,181).
There have now been 47 all-time sell-outs in the Riley/Kelly Cup Finals, including 14 out of 26 games since 2017.
Everblades are 10th Kelly Cup champion without home ice
Florida is the 10th team in 25 years, and the first since Colorado in 2018, to win the Kelly Cup without home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Florida (2012), Cincinnati (2010), South Carolina (2009), Trenton (2005), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001) and Hampton Roads (1998). Overall, thirteen teams have won League titles without having home-ice advantage in the Finals. Riley Cup winners without home ice are Toledo (1993), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989).
Celebration at home & on road
For the 16th time in ECHL history, and the third Finals in a row, the decisive game in the Finals was won at home. The other Kelly Cup winners who have clinched at home are Fort Wayne (2021), Newfoundland (2019), 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 12 states, one province
Twelve different states and one Canadian province have produced the 25 Kelly Cup champions. South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 25 winners of the Kelly Cup while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006, 2011 and 2014) has three championships. Florida joins 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) with two champions. The other six champions have been from Illinois (Peoria Rivermen – 2000), Indiana (Fort Wayne Komets – 2021), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves – 1999), Newfoundland and Labrador (Newfoundland Growlers – 2019), Pennsylvania (Reading Royals – 2013) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals – 1998).
ECHL champions from 14 states, one province
In the first 34 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), Florida (Florida Everblades in 2012 and 2022), 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. Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 2000), Indiana (Fort Wayne Komets in 2021), 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 18th consecutive year
Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live on FloHockey, the Exclusive Live Streaming Partner of the ECHL. It marked the 18th straight season that every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was available for viewing.
2022 Kelly Cup Finals
Game 1 – FLORIDA 3 at Toledo 2
Game 2 – FLORIDA 3 at Toledo 1
Game 3 – TOLEDO 4 at Florida 1
Game 4 – Toledo 2 at FLORIDA 3 (OT)
Game 5 – Toledo 2 at FLORIDA 4
Kelly Cup Champions
2022 – Florida defeated Toledo, 4 games to 1
2021 – Fort Wayne defeated South Carolina, 3 games to 1
2020 – Playoffs were cancelled due to COVID-19
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 34th season in 2021-22. There have been 727 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 29 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2021-22 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 32 NHL teams in 2021-22, marking the 25th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.