Back-To-Back Kelly Cup Champions

Your Colorado Eagles have brought Back-To-Back Kelly Cups to Northern Colorado!

Story by: ECHL.com

The Colorado Eagles won their second consecutive ECHL Kelly Cup championship on Saturday defeating the Florida Everblades 3-2 at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida in Game 7 of the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals.

 

Colorado becomes just the fourth team in the ECHL’s 30-year history to win back-to-back titles joining the Allen Americans (2015 and 2016), Toledo Storm (1993 and 1994) and Hampton Roads Admirals (1991 and 1992).

 

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 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 celebrated his 65th season in hockey in 2017-18, 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.

 

Celebrating its 30th season in 2017-18, 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 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.

 

Joly wins Most Valuable Player award

Colorado’s Michael Joly was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

 

Joly led all players in the postseason with 13 goals and 29 points. He also led the Eagles in the Kelly Cup Finals with four goals and nine points.

 

Game 7 rarity 

The 2018 Kelly Cup Finals marked just the fifth time in the ECHL’s 30-year history that the Finals series was decided in seven games.

 

With Colorado’s win, the road team is 3-2 in Game 7 of the Finals series. The other road teams to win the seventh game are Carolina (at Johnstown in 1989) and South Carolina (at Alaska in 2009). The two home teams to win Game 7 are Mississippi (1999 vs. Richmond) and Allen (2015 vs. South Carolina).

 

Register joins elite company with third title 

Colorado defenseman Matt Register became the first person in ECHL history to win three consecutive championships. Register also won with Allen in 2016 and Colorado in 2017, and is the sixth individual to win three Kelly Cup titles.

 

Register joins Scott BurtRiley Gill and Patrick Wellar as the only individuals to win three titles as a player. Burt captured championships with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2011, Gill won titles with Reading in 2013 and Allen in 2015 and 2016 while Wellar won titles with Alaska in 2006, South Carolina in 2009 and Reading in 2013.

 

The other individuals to win three Kelly Cup titles are Jared Bednar and Louis Mass. 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 while Mass won as a player with Alaska in 2006 and as the Aces’ assistant coach in 2011 and 2014.

 

Seven players earn second title 

It was the second Kelly Cup title for seven members of the Eagles who were also part of the team in 2017 – Matt GarbowskyLukas HafnerRyan HarrisonJake MartoJulien NantelShawn St-Amant and Teigan Zahn – bringing the total number of individuals to win multiple Kelly Cup titles to 48.

 

Schneekloth leads Eagles to back-to-back titles 

Colorado head coach Aaron Schneekloth, who in 2017 became the first coach to lead a team to an ECHL title in his first season as head coach since Greensboro’s Jeff Brubaker in 1990, became the sixth coach in ECHL history to win multiple playoff championships.

 

John Brophy, a 2009 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, is the ECHL all-time leader with three championships, leading Hampton Roads to Riley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992 and Kelly Cup championship in 1998. The other five other coaches who have won multiple championships are Chris McSorley, who won Riley Cup championships with Toledo in 1992 and 1993; John Marks, a 2012 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee, led Charlotte to the 1996 Riley Cup title and Greenville to the 2002 Kelly Cup championship; Mike Haviland won Kelly Cup titles with Atlantic City in 2003 and Trenton in 2005; Chuck Weber coached Kelly Cup winning teams in Cincinnati in 2008 and 2010 and Steve Martinson captured Kelly Cup titles with Allen in 2015 and 2016.

 

Eagles’ seven overtime wins set record 

Colorado went 7-2 in overtime during the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, including a win in Game 3 of the Kelly Cup Finals, setting a new ECHL postseason record for most overtime wins in a single playoff year. The previous record of six overtime wins was set by the Eagles in 2017.

 

Colorado rallies from 3-2 deficit to win Finals

Colorado became the 18th team in ECHL history, and just the second in the Finals, to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3 games to 2. The only previous team to rally from a 3-2 deficit in the Finals was Mississippi, which came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Richmond in 1999.

 

Eagles are ninth Kelly Cup champion without home ice

Colorado is the ninth team in 22 years, and the first since Florida in 2012, to win the Kelly Cup without home-ice advantage in the Finals. The other winners are Florida (2012), Cincinnati (2010), South Carolina (2009), Trenton (2005), Idaho (2004), Atlanta City (2003), South Carolina (2001) and Hampton Roads (1998). Twelve teams have won League titles without having home-ice advantage in the Finals. Riley Cup winners without home ice are Toledo (1993), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989).

Story by: ECHL.com