ECHL Trophy will visit eight cities, travel 7,837 miles in 50 days
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Monday the launch of the 2017 Kelly Cup Tour with the first stop on Friday, Feb. 17 in Elmira. Every team begins the season with the goal of winning the Patrick J. Kelly Cup, presented annually to the Postseason Champion of the ECHL and won in 2016 by the Allen Americans.
The tour will travel to eight ECHL cities, making appearances at games, schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events. The Kelly Cup will travel 7,837 miles during the tour, with the longest trek encompassing 2,179 miles from Brampton, Ontario on March 17 to Boise, Idaho on March 24.
“Over the last two seasons, the Kelly Cup Playoffs have provided an unprecedented level of excitement with 14 of the 30 series going a full seven games,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The Kelly Cup Tour is an important part in building the excitement of playoff hockey in each of our markets.”
After its stop in Elmira on Feb. 17, the Kelly Cup Tour will visit Toledo on Feb. 24, Colorado on March 3, Missouri on March 10, Brampton on March 17, Idaho on March 24 and Quad City on March 31 before concluding in Greenville on the final weekend of the 2016-17 regular season.
The Kelly Cup Tour offers ECHL fans the opportunity to view the coveted Patrick J. Kelly Cup, which has been awarded to the ECHL postseason champion since 1996-97. The ECHL retired its playoff championship trophy, the Jack Riley Cup, in 1996 and replaced it with the Kelly Cup, first awarded to the playoff champion in 1997. Standing 28 inches tall and weighing 37 pounds, the Kelly Cup features the names of players, coaches and support staff from each of the 27 ECHL champions. Accompanying the Kelly Cup will be a special display that highlights the intensity and excitement of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Kelly Cup is named in recognition of Patrick J. Kelly, who is one of the founding fathers of the ECHL. Kelly served as Commissioner of the ECHL for the first eight seasons before being named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title which he continues to hold. Kelly celebrates his 63rd season in hockey in 2015-16, having begun his career with the St. Catherine Teepees of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in 1952. He played professionally for the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League, the Troy Bruins of the International Hockey League, and the Greensboro Generals of the Eastern Hockey League. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League from 1965-73 and was head coach and general manager of Charlotte in the Southern Hockey League from 1973-76. He coached the Colorado Rockies in the NHL in 1977-78 and is the only coach to lead the Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following coaching stops in the American Hockey League, he went to Peoria in the International Hockey League where he led the Rivermen to the Turner Cup in his first season in 1984-85. In 2016, Kelly received the Lester Patrick Trophy from the National Hockey League for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
Scott Burt, Jared Bednar, Riley Gill, Louis Mass and Patrick Wellar are the only individuals to have their name engraved on the Kelly Cup three times. Burt won championships with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2011; Bednar won as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001, and was the head coach of the Stingrays for their win in 2009; Gill was part of Reading’s 2013 Kelly Cup championship team and has captured championships with Allen in 2015 and 2016; Mass won as a player with Alaska in 2006 and as the Aces’ assistant coach in 2011 and 2014 while Wellar won titles with Alaska in 2006, South Carolina in 2009 and Reading in 2013. There are 33 other individuals who have their name engraved on the Kelly Cup twice.
Thirty-six 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, Tyrone Garner, Simon Gamache and Luke Sellars (Greenville, 2002); Kevin Colley and Matt Yeats (Atlantic City, 2003); Dan Ellis, Zenon Konopka, Warren Peters (Idaho, 2004); Chris Beckford-Tseu, Barrett Heisten, Doug Lynch, Chris Minard and Matt Underhill (Alaska, 2006); Jay Beagle, B.J. Crombeen, Greg Rallo and Francis Wathier (Idaho, 2007); David Desharnais, Cedrick Desjardins and Ryan Russell (Cincinnati, 2008); Travis Morin and James Reimer (South Carolina, 2009); Mark Van Guilder (Cincinnati, 2010); Gerald Coleman (Alaska, 2011 and 2014) and Brian Swanson (Alaska, 2011); Kevin Quick and Justin Shugg (Florida, 2012); Stanislav Galiev (Reading, 2013) and Turner Elson and John Ramage (Alaska, 2014). In addition, Bruce Boudreau, who coached Mississippi to the 1999 Kelly Cup championship, is the head coach of the Minnesota Wild; Davis Payne, who coached Alaska to the 2006 title, is an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings and Bob Woods, who won the 1999 Kelly Cup title with Mississippi, is an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.
2017 Kelly Cup Tour
February 17 First Arena Elmira, New York
February 24 Huntington Center Toledo, Ohio
March 3 Budweiser Events Center Loveland, Colorado
March 10 Silverstein Eye Centers Arena Independence, Missouri
March 17 Powerade Centre Brampton, Ontario
March 24 CenturyLink Arena Boise, Idaho
March 31 iWireless Center Moline, Illinois
April 7 Bon Secours Wellness Arena Greenville, South Carolina