The start of the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals on Saturday will put the city of Reading in the minor league hockey national spotlight. The event is historic in that the Royals will be competing for a national championship for the first time in their history when they face off against the Stockton Thunder at 7:05 p.m. ET at Sovereign Center.
The event is significant in that it may well be the first time a professional team from Reading has had the opportunity to compete for a national championship. While the storied Reading Fightin’ Phils have played for Eastern League championships on four occasions – winning the league title in 1968, 1973 and 1995, and earning co-championship honors in 2001 – those titles represent the league only and are not for national supremacy. In addition, the Reading Express football team won the American Indoor Football Association championship in 2009, but that league did not carry a true national footprint, nor the history of the ECHL.
In any event, when Royals’ fans descend on Sovereign Center on Saturday, they will be party to a special event. The first hockey championship series ever played in Reading, the first professional championship in any sport in many years and the opportunity to witness a sporting event that may not reappear for many years. It presents a chance for Reading fans to be a part of history.