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Kelly Cup Field Has Five Former Champions

April 8, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release

PRINCETON, N.J. - Four of the teams in the Kelly Cup Playoffs have won the Kelly Cup: Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi and South Carolina. Charlotte won the Riley Cup in 1996 which was the last season it was the trophy presented to the ECHL champion.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who 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.

Idaho is the defending champion and one of only two teams to win two Kelly Cups. The Steelheads beat Florida in five games to win the first-ever national 'AA' title in 2004 and beat Dayton in five games in 2007. Idaho was only the second expansion team in history to win the ECHL title joining the Greensboro Monarchs who beat Winston-Salem in 1990. The Steelheads are 33-18 all-time in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and lead the ECHL postseason with a .647 winning percentage. Lance Galbraith and Darrell Hay have been members of both championship teams and are two of the 13 players/coaches who have their name engraved twice on the trophy.

South Carolina captured the first Kelly Cup in 1997, beating Louisiana in five games, and became the first repeat champion in 2001 when it defeated Trenton in five games. The Stingrays were the first team in history to win both the Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded to the regular season champion, and the Kelly Cup in the same season in 1996-97. Stingrays head coach Jared Bednar was a member of both championship teams.

Alaska became the second team to win both the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in 2005-06 when it finished first in the regular season with 113 points and defeated Gwinnett in five games. The Aces have reached the conference finals each of the last three years, tying them for the second-most conference finals appearances since 1997 with Florida, Mississippi and Peoria. Louisiana holds the record with four conference finals appearances. Peter Metcalf was a member of Alaska's championship team in 2006 and helped Atlantic City win the title in 2003.

Mississippi won the Kelly Cup in 1999 with current Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau behind the bench and current Columbia Inferno head coach Troy Mann on the ice. The Sea Wolves came back from a 3-1 deficit against Richmond in the Kelly Cup Finals winning Game 5 (2-0 at home) before winning Game 6 (7-3 at Richmond) and Game 7 (4-3 at home in double overtime). Game 7 was 106:30 which is the fourth-longest game in Kelly Cup Finals history and the fifth longest ever in the ECHL postseason.

Four teams have won the ECHL championship after not finishing in the Top Five in the regular season standings. Idaho in 2006-07 and Trenton in 2004-05 each finished sixth overall while the Steelheads were 11th in 2003-04. Hampton Roads finished 19th and qualified for the postseason on the last day of the 1997-98 regular season before winning the Kelly Cup.

There have been only four teams that have finished with 100 points who have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals: Alaska (113 points in 2005-06), Gwinnett (107 points in 2005-06), South Carolina (100 points in 1996-97) and Trenton (104 points in 2000-01). The only teams to finish with 100 points and win the Kelly Cup are Alaska with 113 points in 2005-06 and South Carolina with 100 points in 1996-97. The only time that two 100-point teams have met in the Kelly Cup Finals was 2006 when Alaska (113 points) beat Gwinnett (107 points).

The National Conference has won the last three Kelly Cup championships with Trenton in 2005, Alaska in 2006 and Idaho in 2007. Trenton was moved to the American Conference when the league was realigned before 2005-06.

Since becoming a national league in 2003-04, the ECHL has seen the Kelly Cup Champion come from Idaho in 2007 and 2004, Alaska in 2006 and New Jersey in 2005.

The biggest postseason upset in ECHL history was in 1994 when Louisville beat Knoxville in three games in the first round. Louisville was 16-44-8 and had 40 points while Knoxville was 44-18-6 and the regular season champion with 94 points.

The Brabham Cup winner has lost in the first round nine times, in the second round three times, in the conference finals two times, and in the Kelly Cup Finals three times. The last winner to lose in the first round was Pensacola in 2005. Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 while Las Vegas lost in the second round in 2007.

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