Nailers, Gulls Battle For Brabham Cup

Entering the final week of the regular season, Wheeling has 104 points and leads San Diego by four points in the race for the Henry Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded each season to the regular season point champion in the ECHL. Wheeling has clinched the Eastern Conference while San Diego has clinched the Pacific Division and needs only one point in its final four games to clinch the Western Conference.

Wheeling plays at Trenton on April 2 and at Atlantic City on April 3. San Diego plays at Fresno on March 29 and at Bakersfield on April 2 while hosting Las Vegas on March 31 and Alaska on April 3.

Wheeling and San Diego are the 12th and 13th teams, respectively, in ECHL history to reach 100 points. Atlantic City and Louisiana can both mathematically achieve 100 points. The defending Kelly Cup Champion Bullies need six points in their final four games to reach 100 points while the IceGators need to win their final two games to reach 100 points.

Qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 1997-98 and winning its first division title since 1994-95, Wheeling is looking for its fourth Brabham Cup, having won the trophy as the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds in 1989-90 and as the Wheeling Thunderbirds in 1992-93 and 1994-95.

Wheeling is only the fifth team in ECHL history to win 50 games and the first since Louisiana won a league record 56 games in 2001-02. Louisiana has tied Trenton for the fourth-most wins in league history and needs one win to tie Pee Dee, which won 51 games in 1998-99, for third place. Florida has the second most wins in ECHL history with 53 in 1999-2000.

The Nailers have set team records for points (104), wins (50), home wins (28) and road wins (22).

had 59 points in 2002-03 and its 45-point increase is the third-highest point increase from one season to the next. The greatest single season point increase is 50 points by Knoxville (44 points in 1992-93 to 94 points in 1993-94) which broke Knoxville’s record of 49 points (48 points in 1989-90 to 97 points in 1990-91).

The Brabham Cup is named in recognition of Henry Brabham, who was a founding member of the ECHL and the first owner of the Erie Panthers. A former mayor and businessman who was a major force in professional hockey in Virginia for more than 15 years, Brabham worked tirelessly to establish the fledgling ECHL.