ECHL Championship Trophy Will
Travel 7,112 Miles, Visit 12 League Cities
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Second-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will begin on Friday in Pennsylvania at the Sovereign Center, home of the Reading Royals. Every ECHL team begins its season with the goal of winning the Patrick J. Kelly Cup, presented annually to the postseason champion and won in 2004 by the Idaho Steelheads.
The Kelly Cup returns to the Sovereign Center where it was displayed alongside the Stanley Cup during the 2005 Coors Light ECHL All-Star Game festivities on January 25-26, the sixth year in a row that the two trophies were displayed together at the ECHL All-Star Game.
The 51-day and 7,112-mile tour is scheduled to visit 12 cities in eight states with the trophy making appearances not only at games but also at schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events. The Kelly Cup Tour offers fans of the ECHL the opportunity to view the coveted trophy which was first awarded to the league champion in 1997. Standing 19 3/8 inches and weighing 25 3/8 pounds, the Patrick J. Kelly Cup features the names of players, coaches and support staff from the last eight ECHL champions.
Accompanying the Kelly Cup on the tour is a full-color display that highlights the intensity and the excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Each of the 28 ECHL cities were given the opportunity to host the Kelly Cup which on its inaugural tour in 2004 traveled 7,543 miles in 44 days while visiting 10 ECHL cities in eight states.
The Kelly Cup will be in Toledo, Ohio on February 25, 26 and 27 before heading to North Carolina and the Charlotte Checkers game on March 5. Following a visit to Mississippi for the Sea Wolves game on March 11, the Tour will be at the Florida Everblades game on March 12. Florida lost in five games to Idaho in the 2004 Kelly Cup Finals.
The first of three stops in the state of South Carolina is March 15 in Columbia for an Inferno game followed by a Pee Dee Pride game on March 18 and a South Carolina Stingrays game on March 19. The Tour then heads to California with its first stop in Bakersfield for Condors games on March 25-26 and then to Long Beach for an Ice Dogs game on March 27.
The Tour heads to Boise, Idaho, which has been the Kelly Cup’s home for the last year. Boise is the home of the defending Kelly Cup champion Steelheads, who have the trophy on display during their final two regular season games on April 1-2. It is then back to California where Fresno will host the Tour for the final regular season weekend on April 8-9.
The Kelly Cup is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL in 1988-89. Kelly served as Commissioner for the first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly celebrated his 50th season in professional hockey in 2002-03. Kelly coached 1,900 career games and has 935 wins to rank second all time among professional coaches to only the legendary Scotty Bowman with 2,571 games and 1,511 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. He also coached in the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League, leading Peoria to the Turner Cup in 1984-85.
2005 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
February 18 Reading, Pa.
February 25-27 Toledo, Ohio
March 5 Charlotte, N.C.
March 11 Biloxi, Miss.
March 12 Estero, Fla.
March 15 Columbia, S.C.
March 18 Florence, S.C.
March 19 North Charleston, S.C.
March 25-26 Bakersfield, Calif.
March 27 Long Beach, Calif.
April 1-2 Boise, Idaho
April 8-9 Fresno, Calif.
2005 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
* 51 days (February 18 to April 9)
* 12 ECHL Cities – Bakersfield, Biloxi, Boise, Charlotte, Columbia, Estero,
Florence, Fresno, Long Beach, North Charleston, Reading and Toledo
* Distance Traveled – 7,112 miles
* Longest Travel Segment – 2,511 miles (North Charleston, S.C. to Bakersfield, Calif.)
* Shortest Travel Segment – 78 miles (Columbia, S.C. to Florence, S.C.)
2004 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
* 44 Days (February 20 to April 3)
* 10 ECHL Cities – Atlantic City, Boise, Columbia, Duluth, Estero, Florence, Greensboro, Lafayette, North Charleston and Wheeling
* Distance Traveled – 7,543 miles
* Longest Travel Segment – 2,506 miles (Boise, Idaho to Atlantic City, N.J.)
Shortest Travel Segment – 78 miles (Columbia, S.C. to Florence, S.C.)
Kelly Cup Champions
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
Kelly Cup Notes
* The Kelly Cup Champion has come from the Northern Conference three times (2003 – Atlantic City, Peoria – 2000, 1998 – Hampton Roads) and from the Southern Conference three times (2002 – Greenville, 2001 – South Carolina, 1999 – Mississippi). For the first time in 2004, the Kelly Cup Champion came from the Western Conference (Idaho). The first season that the Kelly Cup was awarded the ECHL did not have conferences but rather three divisions (East, North and South). The winner was South Carolina from the East Division.
* The state of South Carolina has produced the winner three of the eight years. * With the exception of Hampton Roads in 1998 and Idaho in 2004, every ECHL Champion has finished in the Top Five in the regular season standings. Hampton Roads finished 18th overall and qualified for the postseason on the final day of the regular season. Idaho finished tied for 11th overall. Ironically, only once in ECHL history has a team finished first in the regular season and gone on to win in the postseason – South Carolina in 1997.
* The Idaho Steelheads hold the distinction of being the Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest west and also the furthest north. The latitude of Boise, Idaho is 43.64564 N while its longitude is 116.13285 W. The Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest south (30.40334 N ) is the Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999 while the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 are located the furthest east (74.431727 W).
* Nine players whose name appears on the Kelly Cup have played in the National Hockey League: Sebastien Charpentier, Hampton Roads, 1998; Chris Schmidt and Travis Scott, Mississippi, 1999; Cody Rudkowsky and Cam Severson, Peoria, 2000; Zdenek Blatny, Simon Gamache and Luke Sellars, Greenville, 2002; Dan Ellis, Idaho, 2004.
* Boardman Silversmiths, Inc. in Meriden, Connecticut created the Kelly Cup. Boardman also produces the Calder Cup for the American Hockey League as well as the trophies for the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the Masters golf tournament.
* There are eight individuals whose name appears on the Kelly Cup twice. Seven had their name engraved for the second time while the eighth had his name engraved for the first time in 2001 when South Carolina won the Kelly Cup. Rick Adduono was assistant coach in 1997 and head coach in 2001 while Jason Fitzsimmons was a player in 1997 and assistant coach in 2001. Jared Bednar, Brad Dexter, Brett Marietti and Dave Seitz were players in both 1997 and 2001. Marty Clapton had his name first engraved in 1998 with Hampton Roads and in 2001 with South Carolina. Mike Nicholishen had his name engraved for the first time in 2001 with South Carolina and for the second time in 2003 with Atlantic City.