Recap of 2016 Kelly Cup Finals

The Allen Americans won their second consecutive ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Thursday defeating the Wheeling Nailers at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas in Game 6 to win the series 4 games to 2.

With the win, Allen becomes just the third team in the ECHL’s 28-year history to win back-to-back titles, and the first since the Toledo Storm won Riley Cup titles in 1993 and 1994. The other team to win consecutive titles is the Hampton Roads Admirals, who won titles in 1991 and 1992. From 1989-96, the ECHL champion was awarded the Riley Cup. In the 28-year history of the ECHL, 18 different teams have captured the league title.

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 63rd season in hockey in 2015-16, 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 28th season in 2015-16, 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.

Costello wins Most Valuable Player award

Allen’s Chad Costello was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs, becoming the first player in ECHL history to win the regular-season Most Valuable Player award (2011-12 and 2015-16) and playoff MVP award during his career.

Costello led all players in the postseason with 36 points (7g-29a), the second most points in a single playoff year in ECHL history while his 29 assists are a new ECHL postseason record.

During the Kelly Cup Finals, Costello tallied 13 points (3g-10a), setting a new Finals record for most assists in a series and ranking second all-time for points in the Finals series.

Steffes moves up career goals list

Allen’s Gary Steffes scored six goals against Wheeling, tied for the second most goals by a player in a single Finals series in ECHL history. Combined with his four goals in the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals against South Carolina, Steffes ranks second in ECHL history with 10 career goals in the Finals, just one behind the all-time record held by 2011 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Phil Berger.

Gill joins elite company

Allen goaltender Riley Gill went 3-1 in the 2016 Kelly Cup Finals, giving him 11 career Finals wins, setting a new all-time record for most wins in the Riley/Kelly Cup Finals. Gill went 4-1 in the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals with Reading and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs before posting a 4-3 record with Allen in the 2015 Finals.

Gill’s third Kelly Cup title puts him in elite company. Only 2008 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Nick Vitucci has won more ECHL titles with four, winning Riley Cup championships with Carolina in 1989, Greensboro in 1990, Toledo in 1994 and Charlotte in 1996. Gill is one of just five individuals to have his name engraved on the Kelly Cup three times, and one of just three to win three titles as a player. Scott Burt captured titles with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2011 while Patrick Wellar won championships with Alaska in 2006, South Carolina in 2009 and Reading in 2013. Jared Bednar won Kelly Cup titles as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001 and was the Stingrays’ head coach for their 2009 title while Louis Mass was a player with Alaska in 2006 and was the Aces’ assistant coach for titles in 2011 and 2014.

Martinson third coach to win two Kelly Cups

Allen head coach Steve Martinson became just the third coach to win two Kelly Cup titles with the championship, joining Mike Haviland (Atlantic City, 2003 and Trenton, 2005) and Chuck Weber (Cincinnati in 2008 and 2010).

John Brophy, a 2009 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, is the ECHL all-time leader with three championships, leading Hampton Roads to Riley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992 and Kelly Cup championship in 1998. Two other coaches in ECHL history have won multiple championships – Chris McSorley won Riley Cup championships with Toledo in 1992 and 1993 while John Marks, a 2012 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee, led Charlotte to the 1996 Riley Cup title and Greenville to the 2002 Kelly Cup championship.

Americans are 12th Kelly Cup champion with home ice

Allen is the 12th team in 20 years to win the Kelly Cup with home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Allen (2015), Alaska (2014), Reading (2013), Alaska (2011), Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Greenville (2002), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999) and South Carolina (1997). Seventeen of the 28 League champions have won the title with home-ice advantage.

Celebration at home & on road

For the 12th time in ECHL history, the decisive game in the Finals was won at home. The Kelly Cup has been clinched at home nine times with Allen (2015), 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).

The 15 winners on the road are: Alaska (2014), Reading (2013), Alaska (2011), South Carolina (2009), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Trenton (2005), Greenville (2002), Hampton Roads (1998), South Carolina (1997), Charlotte (1996), Toledo (1994), Hampton Roads (1992), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989).

Kelly Cup championship banners in 10 states

Ten different states have produced the 20 Kelly Cup champions. South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 20 winners of the Kelly Cup while Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006, 2011 and 2014) has three championships. Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005), Ohio (Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008 and 2010) and Texas (Allen Americans in 2015 and 2016) have each produced two champions. The other five 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 12 states

In the first 28 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. Alaska (Alaska Aces in 2006, 2011 and 2014) and North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds in 1989, Greensboro Monarchs in 1990 and Charlotte Checkers in 1996) both have three champions while Idaho (Idaho Steelheads in 2004 and 2007), New Jersey (Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and Trenton Titans in 2005) and Texas (Allen Americans in 2015 and 2016) have two apiece. Florida (Florida Everblades in 2012), Illinois (Peoria Rivermen in 2000), Mississippi (Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999), Pennsylvania (Reading Royals in 2013) and Texas (Allen Americans in 2015) each have one winner.

Kelly Cup Finals available online for 13th consecutive year

Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live on ECHL.TV, powered by NeuLion. It marked the 13th straight season that every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was available for viewing.

2016 Kelly Cup Finals
Allen wins series 4-2

Game 1 – Wheeling 3 at ALLEN 5
Game 2 – WHEELING 7 at Allen 6
Game 3 – Allen 2 at WHEELING 3
Game 4 – ALLEN 4 at Wheeling 2
Game 5 – ALLEN 3 at Wheeling 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Wheeling 2 at ALLEN 4

Kelly Cup Champions

2016 – Allen defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
2015 – Allen defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 3
2014 – Alaska defeated Cincinnati, 4 games to 2
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

About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 28th season in 2015-16. There have been 599 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 30 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2015-16 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2015-16, marking the 19th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.