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Kelly Cup Tour begins Friday in Toledo

Wednesday, February 21st
Kelly Cup Tour begins Friday in Toledo

The ECHL announced on Wednesday the launch of the 2024 Kelly Cup Tour with the first stop on Friday, Feb. 23 in Toledo. 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 2023 by the Florida Everblades.
 
The tour will travel to five ECHL cities, making appearances at games, schools, sponsors, radio and television stations and other community events. The Kelly Cup will travel 2,768 miles during the tour, with the longest trek encompassing 926 miles from Coralville, Iowa on March 15 to Reading, Pennsylvania on March 22.
 
After its stop in Toledo this weekend the Kelly Cup Tour will head to Cincinnati on March 1, Iowa on March 15 and Reading on March 22 before concluding in Fort Wayne on March 29.
 
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 19 pounds, the Kelly Cup features the names of players, coaches and support staff from each of the 34 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 71st season in hockey in 2023-24, 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, Kyle Neuber, Matt Register 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; Neuber won titles with Allen in 2016 and Florida in 2022 and 2023; Register captured titles in three consecutive seasons, winning with Allen in 2016 and Colorado in 2017 and 2018, while Wellar won titles with Alaska in 2006, South Carolina in 2009 and Reading in 2013. There are 56 other individuals who have their name engraved on the Kelly Cup twice.
 
Forty-eight 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); Jeremy Smith and 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); Turner Elson and John Ramage (Alaska, 2014); Darryl Bootland, Mason Geertsen and Kent Simpson (Colorado, 2017); Alex Belzile (Alaska, 2014 and Colorado, 2017); Drayson Bowman, J.C. Beaudin and Nicolas Meloche (Colorado, 2018); Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Adam Pardy and Kristians Rubins (Newfoundland, 2019) and Dylan Ferguson (Fort Wayne, 2021).
 
Jared Bednar and Jay Beagle are the only two individuals to win a Kelly Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup championship during their career. Bednar, who won Kelly Cups as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001 and as head coach in 2009, led Lake Erie to Calder Cup title in 2016 and Colorado to Stanley Cup title in 2022, and is the only coach to win championships in the ECHL, AHL and NHL. In addition to winning the Kelly Cup with Idaho in 2007, Beagle won the Calder Cup with Hershey in 2009 and 2010 and the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018.
 
Mike Haviland, Al MacIsaac and Davis Payne each have their names engraved on both the Kelly Cup and Stanley Cup. Haviland coached Atlantic City to the 2003 Kelly Cup title and Trenton to the 2005 title and won the Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with Chicago in 2010; MacIsaac was an assistant coach for Hampton Roads’ Kelly Cup title in 1998 and captured titles as Chicago’s vice president of hockey operations in 2010, 2013 and 2015 while Payne was head coach for Alaska in 2006 and was an assistant coach with Los Angeles in 2014.      
 
2024 Kelly Cup Tour
 
February 23                 Huntington Center                              Toledo, Ohio
March 1                       Heritage Bank Center                         Cincinnati, Ohio
March 15                     Xtream Arena                                     Coralville, Iowa
March 22                     Santander Arena                                 Reading, Pennsylvania
March 29                     Memorial Coliseum                            Fort Wayne, Indiana
 
About the ECHL
 
Formed in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 36th season in 2023-24. There have been 748 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including eight who have made their NHL debuts in the 2023-24 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 32 NHL teams in 2023-24, marking the 27th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com.
 

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