PRINCETON, N.J. – The Third-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will visit Gwinnett, Ga. on Saturday as the Gladiators host South Division rival Charlotte Checkers.
Gwinnett is the ninth stop on the 50-day tour that will see the Kelly Cup visit 11 cities in nine states and one Canadian province. The tour covers 10,339 miles, the greatest distance traveled in one year since the Kelly Cup Tour began in 2004.
The Gladiators are in their third season in Gwinnett and have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs every year, including the conference finals in 2004 where they lost to eventual Kelly Cup champion Idaho.
The Kelly Cup will then travel 2,201 miles across the country to Boise, Idaho where it will be displayed at Qwest Arena for the Steelheads games on Mar. 24 and 25.
So far the Third-Annual Kelly Cup Tour has traveled 5,432 miles across North America with stops in Victoria, British Columbia; West Valley City, Utah; Stockton, Calif.; Johnstown, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; Wheeling W.Va.; Greenville, S.C. and Charlotte, N.C.
The Kelly Cup has gained recognition and prominence as the championship trophy of the nationwide ECHL and is a symbol of hard work, dedication and excellence at the ‘AA’ level. The Kelly Cup has been awarded to the ECHL postseason champion each season since 1997 and was won by the Trenton Titans in 2005. The Kelly Cup and the Stanley Cup were both at the ECHL All-Star Game festivities in Fresno, Calif. On Jan. 24-25, marking the seventh consecutive year that the championship trophy of the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League was displayed with the championship trophy of the National Hockey League.
The tour opened Feb. 10 in Victoria, British Columbia as the Kelly Cup traveled outside the United States for the first time. The opening stop of the tour also featured ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly, the man for whom the postseason trophy is named.
In addition to ECHL games, the trophy will make appearances at schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events in each city it visits. The Kelly Cup, which stands 19 3/8 inches tall and weighs 25 3/8 pounds, replaced the Riley Cup, which was awarded to the ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96. Accompanying the Kelly Cup is a full-color display that highlights the Kelly Cup Playoffs, scheduled to begin April 10.
2006 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
Feb. 10 Victoria, British Columbia
Feb. 11 Victoria, British Columbia
Feb. 17 West Valley City, Utah
Feb. 18 Stockton, Calif.
Feb. 19 Stockton, Calif.
Feb. 24 Johnstown, Pa.
Feb. 25 Johnstown, Pa.
Mar. 3 Toledo, Ohio
Mar. 4 Toledo, Ohio
Mar. 5 Wheeling, W.Va.
Mar. 10 Greenville, S.C.
Mar. 11 Greenville, S.C.
Mar. 12 Charlotte, N.C.
Mar. 18 Duluth, Ga.
Mar. 24 Boise, Idaho
Mar. 25 Boise, Idaho
Mar. 31 North Charleston, S.C.
2006 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
* 50 days (Feb. 10-Mar. 31)
* 11 ECHL Cities
* Distance Traveled – 10,339 miles
* Longest Travel Segment – 2,584 miles (Stockton, Calif. to Johnstown, Pa.)
* Shortest Travel Segment – 104 miles (Greenville, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C.)
Kelly Cup Champions
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