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Preview of 2024 Kelly Cup Finals

Thursday, May 30th
Preview of 2024 Kelly Cup Finals

Kansas City, Florida to open 2024 Kelly Cup Finals on Friday

Series Matchup Sheet // 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs Bracket // Playoff Leaders

Download the 2024 Kelly Cup Finals Media Guide

The battle to determine the national “AA” hockey champion begins Friday when the Western Conference champion Kansas City Mavericks host the Eastern Conference champion Florida Everblades in Game 1 of the 2024 Kelly Cup Finals at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri.

Celebrating its 36th Season in 2023-24, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who presents it each year to the postseason champion. Kelly was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and was 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. Kelly, who celebrates his 71st season in professional hockey in 2023-24, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 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.

Game 2 will be Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City before the series shifts to Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, where the Everblades will host Game 3 on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Game 4 on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Game 5, if necessary, would be at 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 8. The series would return to Kansas City, if necessary, for Game 6 on Monday, June 10 at 7:05 p.m. CT and Game 7 on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:05 p.m. CT.

The ECHL is the primary development league for the AHL and the NHL. The ECHL and the AHL are the only two minor professional hockey leagues that are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Association. The CBA states that any player on an NHL entry-level contract designated for assignment to a minor league must report if assigned to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. A player on an NHL entry-level contract assigned to a minor professional league other than the ECHL or the AHL is not required to report and can request reassignment to a team in the ECHL or the AHL.
 
Kanas City is the ECHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken while Florida is the ECHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers.

How they got here 

Kansas City captured the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular-season champions with a record of 54-12-6 for 112 points, setting an ECHL record in the process for most road wins in a season with 29. The Mavericks defeated Tulsa 4 games to 0 in the Mountain Division Semifinals and Idaho 4 games to 1 in the Mountain Division Finals before dispatching Toledo 4 games to 2 in the Western Conference Finals.
 
Florida finished in third place in the South Division with a 40-23-9 record for 89 points. The Everblades defeated Jacksonville 4 games to 3 in the South Division Semifinals, becoming the ninth team in ECHL history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series, before defeating Orlando 4 games to 1 in the South Division Finals and Adirondack 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
 
Everblades seek ECHL history with three straight titles, four overall
 
Florida has captured the last two Kelly Cup championships, and is the first team in the ECHL’s 36-year history to reach the Finals in three consecutive seasons. The Everblades are appearing in the Kelly Cup Finals for a league-record seventh time, and are seeking their fourth title (2012, 2022 and 2023).
 
With three over ECHL championships, Florida is tied for the most titles in league history with Hampton Roads (1991, 1992 and 1998), South Carolina (1997, 2001 and 2009) and Alaska (2006, 2011 and 2014).
 
Mavericks appearing in Kelly Cup Finals for first time
 
Kansas City, which joined the ECHL prior to the 2014-15 season, is appearing in the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time. The Mavericks won the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular-season champion this season and are seeking to become the first team to win the regular-season and playoff championship since Alaska in 2014. The Mavericks are the third straight regular-season champion, and the fourth in the last six postseasons, to advance to the Kelly Cup Finals (Florida in 2018, Toledo in 2022, Idaho in 2023 and Kansas City in 2024).
 
The last Kansas City team to win a professional hockey championship was the International Hockey League’s Kansas City Blades, who defeated Muskegon 4 games to 0 in the 1992 Turner Cup Finals.
 
Success on the road
 
Winning games on the road has been a key to success for both Kansas City and Florida through the first three rounds of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
 
Kansas City, which went 29-4-3 on the road in the regular season to set an ECHL record for most road wins in a season, has carried that success over to the postseason where the Mavericks are 7-1 away from home. Kansas City won its first seven road games of the playoffs before falling to Toledo 4-3 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
 
Florida’s success on the road dates back to the club’s 2022 championship. In 2022, the Everblades went 8-1 on the road, winning their final six games on enemy ice, before going 9-2 on the road in the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This season, Florida is 7-3 on the road, including six wins in its last eight road games. In the South Division Semifinals against Jacksonville, the Everblades became just the third team in ECHL postseason history to win both Game 6 and Game 7 of a series on the road.
 
Working overtime

The 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs have seen 14 overtime games through three rounds. The record for overtime games in a single postseason is 26, which was set in the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Kansas City is 2-0 in games that have gone beyond regulation in the postseason while Florida is 1-2.
 
Scoring leaders on both sides

Kansas City is led in the playoffs by Jeremy McKenna, who has eight goals, which is tied for third overall through three rounds, and 17 points, which ranks second in the postseason. Patrick Curry is right behind him with 16 points (7g-9a) which is tied for third in the league.
 
Bobo Carpenter paces Florida through three rounds with eight goals and 15 points. His 15 points are tied for seventh overall in the playoffs. Josh Ho-Sang leads all players in the postseason with 13 assists while Cole Moberg leads defensemen with five goals and ranks second among blueliners with 11 points.
 
Between the pipes

Kansas City has gone with a rotation in goal with Cale Morris appearing in eight games and Jack LaFontaine seeing action in seven contests. LaFontaine leads all goaltenders in the playoffs with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage while Morris ranks eighth with a .916 save percentage and 11th with a 2.64 goals-against average.

For Florida, Cam Johnson has seen every minute of action in the postseason. The first player league history to win the June M. Kelly Playoffs Most Valuable Player in back-to-back-seasons, Johnson leads all goaltenders with 12 wins, 1,101 minutes played and 489 saves while ranking third with a 1.80 goals-against average and fourth with a .937 save percentage. Johnson’s 12 career playoff shutouts are the most in ECHL postseason history while his 43 postseason wins are tied for third all-time.
 
Behind the Benches

Kansas City’s Tad O’Had has led the Mavericks to back-to-back appearances in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time in team history. O’Had, who served as an assistant coach for the Everblades from 2013-20, has posted a 151-106-31 record in four seasons as Kansas City’s head coach.
 
Florida’s Brad Ralph, who led the Everblades to the 2022 and 2023 Kelly Cup titles, is the ECHL all-time leader in playoff games coached (148) and wins (91). In his ECHL tenure with Idaho and Florida, Ralph has an overall record of 486-214-75 for a .681 career winning percentage, which ranks sixth in ECHL history while he ranks fifth all-time in regular-season wins.

Name already on Kelly Cup 

Three players – Cam Johnson, Kyle Neuber and Joe Pendenza – plus head coach Brad Ralph, have been on Florida’s 2022 and 2023 championship teams. Jordan Sambrook was with Florida for its 2022 title while Oliver Chau, Cam Darcy, Sean Josling, Logan Lambdin, Cole Moberg and Zach Uens were on the club’s 2023 championship team. Todd Skirving won the Kelly Cup title with Newfoundland in 2019. Neuber was also a part of Allen’s championship in 2016, and is one of just individuals to have his name engraved on the Kelly Cup three times. Kansas City’s Jake Jaremko and Jake McLaughlin won the Kelly Cup with Florida in 2022.
 
Players returning to Finals
 
In addition to the players who have previously won Kelly Cup titles, Kansas City’s Patrick Curry participated in the 2022 Kelly Cup Finals with Toledo.
 
FloHockey broadcasts Kelly Cup Finals 

For the 20th year in a row every game of the Kelly Cup Finals will be available online, through FloHockey.

2024 Kelly Cup Finals Schedule

Game 1 – Friday, May 31 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri
Game 2 – Saturday, June 1 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri
Game 3 – Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida
Game 4 – Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida
Game 5 – Saturday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida *
Game 6 – Monday, June 10 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri *
Game 7 – Wednesday, June 12 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri *
 
* - If Necessary
 
Kelly Cup Champions
2023 – Florida defeated Idaho, 4 games to 0
2022 – Florida defeated Toledo, 4 games to 1
2021 – Fort Wayne defeated South Carolina, 3 games to 1
2020 – Playoffs were canceled due to COVID-19
2019 – Newfoundland defeated Toledo, 4 games to 2
2018 – Colorado defeated Florida, 4 games to 3
2017 – Colorado defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 0
2016 – Allen defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
2015 – Allen defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 3
2014 – Alaska defeated Cincinnati, 4 games to 2
2013 – Reading defeated Stockton, 4 games to 1
2012 – Florida defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 1
2011 – Alaska defeated Kalamazoo, 4 games to 1
2010 – Cincinnati defeated Idaho, 4 games to 1
2009 – South Carolina defeated Alaska, 4 games to 3
2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 2
2007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 1
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

Riley Cup Champions
1996 – Charlotte defeated Jacksonville, 4 games to 0
1995 – Richmond defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1994 – Toledo defeated Raleigh, 4 games to 1
1993 – Toledo defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
1992 – Hampton Roads defeated Louisville, 4 games to 0
1991 – Hampton Roads defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1990 – Greensboro defeated Winston-Salem, 4 games to 1
1989 – Carolina defeated Johnstown, 4 games to 3

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