The Colorado Eagles won their first ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Monday defeating the South Carolina Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C. in Game 4 to win the series 4 games to 0.
The Eagles are the first team to sweep the Kelly Cup Finals since the Greenville Grrrowl defeated the Dayton Bombers in four games in 2002. It is just the fourth time in the ECHL’s 29-year history that the Finals series has been decided in a sweep.
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 64th season in hockey in 2016-17, 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 29th season in 2016-17, 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.
Register wins Most Valuable Player award
Colorado’s Matt Register was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs, becoming the first defenseman in the ECHL’s 29-year history to receive the playoff MVP award.
Register led all defensemen during the postseason with eight goals and 24 points. His 24 points were second among all players and he led the playoffs with five game-winning goals and he was tied for third in plus-minus with a +9 rating.
Each of the four games in the 2017 Kelly Cup Finals was decided by one goal, with two games being determined in overtime. This marks the second time in ECHL history that each game of the Finals was decided by one goal, joining the 2010 Finals, when Cincinnati defeated Idaho 4 games to 1.
Trio of players earn second title
Register and Pierr-Zabotel captured the Kelly Cup title for the second consecutive year after winning the title with Allen last season, while Belzile previously had his named engraved on the Cup with Alaska in 2014.
Schneekloth wins title in first season as coach
Colorado head coach Aaron Schneekloth led the Eagles to the Kelly Cup title in his first season as a head coach. He is the first coach to lead a team to an ECHL title in his first season behind the bench since Jeff Brubaker led the Greensboro Monarchs to the 1990 Riley Cup championship.
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. Five other coaches in ECHL history have won multiple championships – Chris McSorley won Riley Cup championships with Toledo in 1992 and 1993; 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; Mike Haviland won Kelly Cup titles with Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005; Chuck Weber coached Kelly Cup winning teams in Cincinnati in 2008 and 2010 and Steve Martinson captured Kelly Cup titles with Allen in 2015 and 2016.
Eagles’ six overtime wins set record
Colorado went 6-0 in overtime during the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs, including wins in Games 1 and 3 of the Kelly Cup Finals, setting a new ECHL postseason record for most overtime wins in a single playoff year. The previous record of five overtime wins was shared by six clubs.
Colorado ends playoffs with eight straight wins
The Eagles ended the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs with an eight-game winning streak, tying five other teams for the third-longest winning streak in a single playoff year in ECHL history.
During the 2016-17 regular season, Colorado won 17 straight games from Jan. 25-March 3, which tied the mark for the second longest winning streak in league history.
Eagles are 13th Kelly Cup champion with home ice
Colorado is the 13th team in 21 years, and the fifth consecutive team, to win the Kelly Cup with home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Allen (2015 and 2016), 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 16th time in ECHL history, the decisive game in the Finals was won on the road. The Kelly Cup has been clinched on the road 11 times with Colorado (2017), Alaska (2014), Reading (2013), Alaska (2011), South Carolina (2009), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), 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 13 winners at home are: Allen (2015 and 2016), Florida (2012), Cincinnati (2010 and 2008), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001), Peoria (2000) and Mississippi (1999), Richmond (1995), Toledo (1993) and Hampton Roads (1991).
Kelly Cup championship banners in 11 states
Eleven different states have produced the 21 Kelly Cup champions. South Carolina (South Carolina Stingrays in 1997, 2001 and 2009 and Greenville in 2002) has produced four of the 21 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 six champions have been from Colorado (Colorado Eagles – 2017), 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 13 states
In the first 29 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. Colorado (Colorado Eagles in 2017), 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 14th consecutive year
Every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was broadcast live on ECHL.TV, powered by NeuLion. It marked the 14th straight season that every game of the Kelly Cup Finals was available for viewing.
Kelly Cup Champions
2017 – Colorado defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 0
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