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Kelly Cup Makes Final Stop in South Carolina

By: Jack Carnefix

PRINCETON, N.J. - The Fourth-Annual Kelly Cup Tour will reach its final destination on Saturday when the South Carolina Stingrays host the ECHL championship trophy and the Texas Wildcatters at North Charleston Coliseum.

Still battling to make the postseason, the Stingrays are the only two-time winners of the Kelly Cup having captured it the first year it was awarded in 1997 and again in 2001. South Carolina has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in every one of its 13 seasons and holds the ECHL record for most playoff appearances and consecutive playoff appearances.

The Kelly Cup, which is making its fourth straight stop in North Charleston, South Carolina , stands 19 3/8 inches tall and weighs 25 3/8 pounds. The Kelly Cup Tour also features a full-color display that chronicles and highlights the intensity and excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The 51-day tour is the longest ever at 13,011 miles and it has stopped in seven states - Arizona (Phoenix), California (Bakersfield and Long Beach), Ohio (Dayton and Troy), South Carolina (North Charleston), Utah (West Valley City), West Virginia (Wheeling) - and visited British Columbia for the second straight year. Each of the 25 teams in the ECHL were offered the opportunity to have the Kelly Cup visit their city during the tour which was created to give fans a chance to view the coveted trophy presented annually to the postseason champion of the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League since 1997.

The Kelly Cup has gained recognition and prominence as the championship trophy of the nationwide league and is a symbol of hard work, dedication and excellence at the ‘AA’ level. It has been displayed on multiple occasions with both the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup and the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup.

Following its stop in South Carolina, the Kelly Cup will return to Anchorage where it will remain with the defending champion Alaska Aces for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The trophy has visited 16 states and one Canadian province since the Kelly Cup Tour began in 2004. In addition to being displayed at ECHL games, the trophy has appeared at schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events in each city. The Kelly Cup replaced the Riley Cup, which was awarded to the ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96.

The trophy is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who is one of the founding fathers of the ECHL, which began with five teams in three states in 1988-89. 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 50th season in professional hockey in 2002-03, coached 1,900 career games and had 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.

2007 Kelly Cup Tour Schedule
Feb. 16-17 Dayton, Ohio
Feb. 18 Troy, Ohio
Mar. 2-3 Stockton, Calif.
Mar. 9-10 West Valley City, Utah
Mar. 13 Phoenix
Mar. 16 Long Beach, Calif.
Mar. 23-24 Victoria, British Columbia
Mar. 30-31 Wheeling, W.Va.
Apr. 4 Bakersfield, Calif.
Apr. 7 North Charleston, S.C.

2007 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 51 days (Feb. 16-Apr. 7)
• Nine ECHL Cities
• Distance Traveled - 13,013 miles
• Longest Travel Segment - 2,725 miles (Victoria, British Columbia to Wheeling, W.Va.)
• Shortest Travel Segment - 381 miles (Phoenix to Long Beach, Calif.)

2006 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 50 days (Feb. 10-Mar. 31)
• 11 ECHL Cities - Boise, Charlotte, Duluth, Greenville, Johnstown, North Charleston, Stockton, Toledo, Victoria, West Valley City and Wheeling
• Distance Traveled - 10,339 miles
• Longest Travel Segment - 2,584 miles (Stockton, Calif. to Johnstown, Pa.)
• Shortest Travel Segment - 104 miles (Greenville, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C.)

2005 Kelly Cup Tour Facts
• 51 days (Feb. 18-Apr. 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 (Feb. 20-Apr. 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
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

Kelly Cup Notes
• The Kelly Cup Champion the last two seasons has been from the National Conference with Alaska in 2006 and Trenton in 2005 while Idaho was a member of the Western Conference when it won in 2004. The Kelly Cup Champion has come from the Northern Conference three times (2003 - Atlantic City, 2000 - Peoria and 1998 - Hampton Roads) and from the Southern Conference three times (2002 - Greenville, 2001 - South Carolina and 1999 - Mississippi ). 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.
• In the 10 years that the Kelly Cup has been awarded, the state of South Carolina has produced the winner three times (South Carolina in 1997 and 2001 and Greenville in 2002) and New Jersey has produced the winner twice (Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005) while Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi and Virginia have each produced one champion.
• 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 twice in ECHL history has a team finished first in the regular season and gone on to win in the postseason - South Carolina in 1997 and Alaska in 2006.
• The Alaska Aces hold the distinction of being the Kelly Cup Champion located the furthest west and also the furthest north. The latitude of Anchorage, Alaska is 61.1306 N while its longitude is 149.5357 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).
• Twelve 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; Kevin Colley and Matt Yeats, Atlantic City, 2003; and Dan Ellis and Zenon Konopka, 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 trophies for the U.S. Open tennis tournament and Masters golf tournament.
• There are 12 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 . Mike Haviland was head coach of Atlantic City when it won in 2003 and was head coach of Trenton when it won in 2005 while Steve Munn played for Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005. Peter Metcalf and Joe Talbot both had their name engraved for the first time in 2003 with Atlantic City and for the second time with Alaska in 2006.

 



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