The Reading Royals won their first ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Saturday defeating the Stockton Thunder 6-0 at Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. to win the series 4 games to 1.
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 60th season in hockey in 2012-13, 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 25th season in 2012-13, 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.
Gill wins Most Valuable Player award
Gill appeared in 17 games during the postseason, posting a record of 13-4, while finishing second among goaltenders with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. His four shutouts are tied for the second most in a single postseason in ECHL history and his two shutouts in the Kelly Cup Finals are tied for the most in a Finals series in League history.
Wellar joins elite company
Reading defenseman Patrick Wellar became just the third individual to win three Kelly Cup titles, and only the second to win three titles as a player. Scott Burt won three titles as a player with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2011. Jared Bednar won as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001, and was the Stingrays’ head coach for their title in 2009.
Nick Vitucci holds the ECHL record for most titles with five. Vitucci won Riley Cup titles as a player with Carolina in 1989, Greensboro in 1990, Toledo in 1994 and Charlotte in 1996 and was an assistant coach with Greenville during its Kelly Cup championship in 2002.
Reading captures first Kelly Cup
The Royals become the second consecutive champion to claim its first title, following Florida in 2012. Reading is the 12th different winner of the Kelly Cup since 1996-97. From 1989-96, the ECHL champion was awarded the Riley Cup. In the 25-year history of the ECHL, 17 different teams have captured the league title.
Royals are ninth Kelly Cup champion with home ice
Reading is the ninth team in 17 years to win the Kelly Cup with home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Alaska (2011), Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Greenville (2002), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999) and South Carolina (1997). Fourteen of the 25 ECHL champions have won the title with home-ice advantage.
Celebration at home & on road
For the 14th time in ECHL history, the decisive game in the Finals was won on the road. The Kelly Cup has been clinched on the road nine times in 17 years with Reading (2013), Alaska (2011 and 2006), South Carolina (2009), Idaho (2007), 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).
The 11 winners at home are Florida (2012), Cincinnati (2010 and 2008), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001), Peoria (2000) and Mississippi (1999). The Riley Cup was won at home three times with Richmond (1995), Toledo (1993) and Hampton Roads (1991).
Kelly Cup championship banners in nine states
South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 17 winners of the Kelly Cup while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006 and 2011), Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) and Ohio (Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008 and 2010) have each produced two champions. The other four champions have been from Florida (Florida Everblades – 2012), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen – 2000), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves – 1999), Pennsylvania (Reading Royals – 2013) and Virginia (Hampton Roads Admirals – 1998).
ECHL champions from 11 states
In the first 25 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. North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds in 1989, Greensboro Monarchs in 1990 and Charlotte Checkers in 1996) has three champions while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006 and 2011), Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007) and New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) have two apiece. Florida (Florida Everblades in 2012), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 2000), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999) and Pennsylvania (Reading Royals in 2013) each have one winner.
Kelly Cup Finals game-worn jerseys, game-used pucks available
All of the jerseys will have the Kelly Cup Finals patch, which is available only on the team jerseys.
The jerseys worn by Reading in Game 1 and by Stockton in Games 1 and 2, as well as game-used and goal-scored pucks from the two games, are available now through June 6. Check back for additional auctions in the coming days.
The "Official Game-Worn Jersey Source of the ECHL" since 2002, MeiGray gives hockey fans and sports collectors worldwide the opportunity to purchase authentic game-worn ECHL jerseys online at MeiGray.com or by telephone at (888) 463-4472.
Kelly Cup Finals on America One for 10th straight year
Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live online by America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster of the ECHL,” for the 10th year in a row. America One has broadcast more than 4,000 regular season ECHL games and over 600 Kelly Cup Playoff games around the globe the last 10 years including the ECHL All-Star Game. The first hockey game broadcast by America One was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by America One was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
2013 Kelly Cup Finals (Best of Seven)
Reading wins series 4-1
Kelly Cup Champions
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
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 512 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.
• 22 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts this season: former Trenton Titans right wing Jason Akeson (Philadelphia on April 27), former Gwinnett Gladiators forward Matt Anderson (New Jersey on Jan. 29), former Stockton Thunder center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Mark Arcobello (Edmonton on Feb. 6), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman and 2010 ECHL All-Star Victor Bartley (Nashville on March 8), former Charlotte Checkers, Wheeling Nailers, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Florida Everblades and Augsuta Lynx left wing Patrick Bordeleau (Colorado on Jan. 19), former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay on Jan. 19), former Trenton Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee (New Jersey on March 9), former South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals goaltender and 2013 ECHL All-Star Philipp Grubauer (Washington on Feb. 27), former Cincinnati Cyclones left wing Kevin Henderson (Nashville on April 19), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Carter Hutton (Chicago on April 27), former Trenton Titans defenseman Matt Konan (Philadelphia on April 25), former Ontario Reign and Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota on Feb. 12), former Toledo Walleye defenseman Brian Lashoff (Detroit on Jan. 21), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Petr Mrazek (Detroit on Feb. 7), former Las Vegas Wranglers, Toledo Walleye and Idaho Steelheads defenseman Steve Oleksy (Washington on March 5), former Alaska Aces right wing Anthony Peluso (Winnipeg on Feb. 12), former South Carolina Stingrays center Steve Pinizzotto (Vancouver on March 14), former Ontario Reign right wing Jon Rheault (Florida on March 5), former Reading Royals left wing Antoine Roussel (Dallas on Feb. 1), former Florida Everblades right wing Jared Staal (Carolina on April 25), former Wheeling Nailers center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Ben Street (Calgary on Feb. 9) and former Toledo Storm right wing and 2007 ECHL All-Star Jamie Tardif (Boston on Feb. 2).
• The ECHL has had 320 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 256 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of 32 per year.
• ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2012-13, surpassing the 81 from 2011-12 and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 28 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,695 fans per game in 2012-13, the highest single-season average since 1999-2000, and marking the ninth consecutive season and the 21st time in the last 23 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.