Kelly Cup

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Kelly Cup
Kelly Cup.jpg
SportIce hockey
Given forPlayoff champions
First award1997
First winnerSouth Carolina Stingrays
Most winsAlaska Aces
South Carolina Stingrays
(3 each)
Most recentNewfoundland Growlers (1)
WebsiteList of winners
Riley Cup
SportIce hockey
CompetitionEast Coast Hockey League
Given forPlayoff champions
First award1989
Final award1996
First winnerCarolina Thunderbirds
Most winsHampton Roads Admirals
Toledo Storm
(2 each)
Most recentCharlotte Checkers
WebsiteList of winners

The Patrick J. Kelly Cup goes to the playoff champion of the ECHL. The Kelly Cup has been awarded to teams since 1997. Prior to 1997, the playoff winner was awarded the Riley Cup, named after former American Hockey League president Jack Riley. The current cup is named after Patrick J. Kelly, the league's first commissioner. The cup is loaned to the winning team for one year and is returned at the start of the following year's playoffs,[1] although the trophy itself has been replaced three times with the first two iterations preserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame.[2] The Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player award is also given out as part of the Kelly Cup Championship ceremonies. Nick Vitucci and Dave Gagnon are the only players to win the award on multiple occasions.[3]

18 different teams have won the ECHL Championship, with eight (Alaska, Allen, Cincinnati, Colorado, Hampton Roads, Idaho, South Carolina, and Toledo) winning multiple times. The Hampton Roads Admirals, the Alaska Aces and the South Carolina Stingrays hold the record for most championships won with three.[4] The Colorado Eagles, who won it in 2018 for their second consecutive title, moved to the American Hockey League in 2018–19. In 2019, the Eagles' ownership did not return the Kelly Cup to the ECHL before the playoffs, leading to the league creating a replacement trophy for the 2019 Kelly Cup playoffs.[5][6] The Eagles' ownership eventually returned the cup before the 2019–20 season, and the league returned its status to be the primary trophy.[7][8] The 2019 Kelly Cup was the fourth copy of the trophy, but was allowed to be kept by the Growlers when the previous cup went back into circulation.[2]

Playoff format[edit]

The Kelly Cup playoffs is an elimination tournament, consisting of four rounds of a best-of-seven series. The format has changed often throughout the years. Since 2016–17, the top four point earners from each division qualify. The first two playoff rounds are played within each division, followed by the conference finals (contested between the four division winners), and ending with the Kelly Cup finals (featuring the two conference champions).

List of ECHL champions[edit]

The Kelly Cup MVP Trophy
The Kelly Cup MVP Trophy
  MVP was a member of the defeated team in the Kelly Cup Finals
Season Winning team Score Losing team MVP
1989 Carolina Thunderbirds (1) 4–3 Johnstown Chiefs Nick Vitucci
1990 Greensboro Monarchs (1) 4–1 Winston-Salem Thunderbirds Wade Flaherty
1991 Hampton Roads Admirals (1) 4–1 Greensboro Monarchs Dave Flanagan / Dave Gagnon
1992 Hampton Roads Admirals (2) 4–0 Louisville Icehawks Mark Bernard
1993 Toledo Storm (1) 4–2 Wheeling Thunderbirds Rick Judson
1994 Toledo Storm (2) 4–1 Raleigh IceCaps Dave Gagnon
1995 Richmond Renegades (1) 4–1 Greensboro Monarchs Blaine Moore
1996 Charlotte Checkers (1) 4–0 Jacksonville Lizard Kings Nick Vitucci
1997 South Carolina Stingrays (1) 4–1 Louisiana IceGators Jason Fitzsimmons
1998 Hampton Roads Admirals (3) 4–2 Pensacola Ice Pilots Sebastien Charpentier
1999 Mississippi Sea Wolves (1) 4–3 Richmond Renegades Travis Scott
2000 Peoria Rivermen (1) 4–2 Louisiana IceGators J. F. Boutin / Jason Christie
2001 South Carolina Stingrays (2) 4–1 Trenton Titans Dave Seitz
2002 Greenville Grrrowl (1) 4–0 Dayton Bombers Simon Gamache / Tyrone Garner
2003 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (1) 4–1 Columbia Inferno Kevin Colley
2004 Idaho Steelheads (1) 4–1 Florida Everblades Dan Ellis
2005 Trenton Titans (1) 4–2 Florida Everblades Leon Hayward
2006 Alaska Aces (1) 4–1 Gwinnett Gladiators Mike Scott
2007 Idaho Steelheads (2) 4–1 Dayton Bombers Steve Silverthorn
2008 Cincinnati Cyclones (1) 4–2 Las Vegas Wranglers Cedrick Desjardins
2009 South Carolina Stingrays (3) 4–3 Alaska Aces James Reimer
2010 Cincinnati Cyclones (2) 4–1 Idaho Steelheads Robert Mayer / Jeremy Smith
2011 Alaska Aces (2) 4–1 Kalamazoo Wings Scott Howes
2012 Florida Everblades (1) 4–1 Las Vegas Wranglers John Muse
2013 Reading Royals (1) 4–1 Stockton Thunder Riley Gill
2014 Alaska Aces (3) 4–2 Cincinnati Cyclones Rob Madore
2015 Allen Americans (1) 4–3 South Carolina Stingrays Greger Hanson
2016 Allen Americans (2) 4–2 Wheeling Nailers Chad Costello
2017 Colorado Eagles (1) 4–0 South Carolina Stingrays Matt Register
2018 Colorado Eagles (2) 4–3 Florida Everblades Michael Joly
2019 Newfoundland Growlers (1) 4–2 Toledo Walleye Zach O'Brien
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ECHL Trophies Archived 2008-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Kelly Cup Playoffs MVP All-Time Winners". Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  4. ^ "Kelly Cup All-Time Winners". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  5. ^ "The Kelly Cup was never returned so the ECHL created a replacement trophy". WTVG. May 31, 2019.
  7. ^ "Growlers to Celebrate Opening Night with Two Kelly Cups". OurSports Central. October 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "ECHL RECEIVES RETURNED KELLY CUP". ECHL. November 11, 2019.

External links[edit]