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Idaho captures Bruce Taylor Trophy as Western Conference champions


The Idaho Steelheads captured the Bruce Taylor Trophy as ECHL Western Conference champions on Saturday with a 5-1 win over the Toledo Walleye in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Idaho wins the series 4 games to 1, and advances to the 2023 Kelly Cup Finals, where it will meet the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between Florida and Newfoundland. That series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 set for Sunday in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
After Toledo took a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest, Idaho went on to score five unanswered goals, including a pair of tallies from Owen Headrick. Adam Scheel stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced to record the win in goal.
Ty Pelton-Byce scored a series-high four goals for Idaho while Headrick posted a team-leading eight points (2g-6a). Gordie Green led Toledo with three goals, and was tied for the team lead in points with four along with Seth Barton and Brandon Hawkins.
This is the fourth time in team history that the Steelheads have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals. Idaho claimed ECHL championships in 2004 against Florida and 2007 against Dayton, while falling to Cincinnati in 2010. The Steelheads won the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular-season champions, and are seeking to become the first team since Alaska in 2014 to win both the regular-season and playoff titles.
The trophy is named in recognition of Bruce Taylor, who was the founding father of the West Coast Hockey League. In the early 1990s, Taylor purchased teams in Fresno, Reno and Bakersfield and in 1995 joined them with teams in Anchorage, Fairbanks and San Diego to form the West Coast Hockey League. The Taylor Cup was presented to the playoff champion in the WCHL from the league’s inaugural season in 1995-96 until the league ceased operations following the 2002-03 season. Taylor’s ownership in hockey began in 1983 with the purchase of the Burnaby Bluehawks of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and continued with the purchase of the Richmond Sockeyes in the BCJHL and the New Westminster Royals in the BCJHL.

Bruce Taylor Trophy Champions
2023    Idaho Steelheads
2022    Toledo Walleye
2021    Fort Wayne Komets
2020    Trophy not awarded due to COVID-19
2019    Toledo Walleye
2018    Colorado Eagles
2017    Colorado Eagles         
2016    Allen Americans        
2015    Allen Americans        
2014    Alaska Aces   
2013    Stockton Thunder      
2012    Las Vegas Wranglers 
2011    Alaska Aces   
2010    Idaho Steelheads        
2009    Alaska Aces   
2008    Las Vegas Wranglers 
2007    Idaho Steelheads        
2006    Alaska Aces   
2005    Trenton Titans
2004    Idaho Steelheads        
2003    Columbia Inferno      
2002    Greenville Grrrowl    
2001    South Carolina Stingrays       
2000    Louisiana IceGators   
1999    Mississippi Sea Wolves         
1998    Pensacola Ice Pilots