PRINCETON, N.J. – Trenton Titans head coach Mike Haviland is in the Kelly Cup Finals for the second time in three seasons and the third time in five years. Haviland led the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies to the 2003 ECHL Championship in his second season as a head coach and in 2001 was an assistant coach when Trenton lost in the finals.
Leading 2-0 in the seven-game series, Trenton returns home to host Game 3 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Game 4 on Saturday at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 would be played on Monday at 5 p.m. Tickets for all three games are on sale now at the Sovereign Bank Arena Box Office, by telephone at (609) 599-9500 and online at TicketMaster.com.
Trenton beat Florida 7-0 before a sellout crowd of 7,465 in Game 1 on Saturday and 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,111 in Game 2 on Sunday.
Born in Middletown, N.J., Haviland returned to the Titans in June 2004 after three years as the head coach and director of hockey operations for Atlantic City. The first professional coaching job that Haviland had was as an assistant coach during the Titans’ first two seasons after helping to scout and recruit players before the team joined the league as an expansion team in 1999-2000.
Haviland led Atlantic City to the Kelly Cup title in 2003 and becomes the fourth coach in league history to lead two different teams to the finals, joining John Marks, Jeff Brubaker and Chris McSorley. Marks led Charlotte to the ECHL title in 1996 and 2002 while McSorley coached Winston-Salem to the finals in 1990 and Toledo to the Riley Cup championship in 1993 and 1994. Brubaker captured the Riley Cup in 1990 with Greensboro and returned to the finals in 1991, 1992 and 1995 with Greensboro before leading Jacksonville to the finals in 1996.
After finishing second in the North Division at 42-21-9, Trenton swept Atlantic City in the division semifinals before upsetting division winner Reading in the division finals. Haviland has never had less than 40 wins in a season as a head coach and his teams have finished first or second in the division each of the past three years.
Named head coach of Atlantic City prior to 2001-02, he was named Coach of the Year by The Hockey News after the team reached the conference finals following a third-place regular season finish. In 2002-03, the Boardwalk Bullies, after finishing first in the division, won the Kelly Cup Championship. In 2003-04, Atlantic City won over 40 games for the third consecutive season, finished second in the division and reached the postseason for the third year in a row.
Haviland is 172-81-35 in the regular season and ranks second all-time among ECHL coaches with a winning percentage of .657. Haviland is 34-17 and has a winning percentage of .667 in the postseason. When combined with his two seasons as an assistant coach, Haviland is 259-128-43 in the regular season and 53-31 in the playoffs.
Haviland has twice been voted by his peers to be a coach in the ECHL All-Star Game, helping lead the North Conference to an 8-2 win in 2003 and the National Conference to a 6-2 win in 2005.
Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1990 Draft, Haviland played in the American Hockey League with Binghamton in 1989-90 and in the ECHL with Richmond and Winston-Salem in 1990-91. He helped Elmira College capture two Eastern College Athletic Conference titles and was named First Team All-America and team MVP in 1989-90 after scoring 72 points (41g-31a) in 33 games.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League in 2004-05 and provided over 78 percent of the roster additions to the 28 teams in the AHL. The ECHL accounted for 355 of the 450 roster additions involving players from the four professional minor leagues in North America. The 28 teams in the ECHL provided 219 of the 267 players listed by the AHL as being added to rosters in 2004-05, the remaining 48 players coming from the remaining 39 minor professional teams. The ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and almost 100 players in the ECHL are on NHL contracts. The ECHL welcomed its first team outside the United States in 2004-05 with the addition of the Victoria Salmon Kings in British Columbia and 2005-06 will welcome the Stockton Thunder in California and the Phoenix Roadrunners in Arizona.