The expansion Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL are on the verge of lifting the Kelly Cup at home in front of their hometown fans, so long as they can get past the visiting Toledo Walleye in Game 6 or 7 of the Kelly Cup Final. There’s just one problem… whoever hoists that trophy will be hoisting an imposter. The real Kelly Cup is residing somewhere in Denver, Colorado where the owners of the Colorado Eagles are reportedly holding it hostage.
The Colorado Eagles left the league as back-to-back champions in 2018 before moving on up to the AHL for the 2018-19 season. They were to release the trophy back to the ECHL in December, but reportedly did not honor their agreement.
“They won it two years in a row and one of their owners said, ‘fine, we’ll keep it,’ ” ECHL commissioner Patrick Kelly said earlier this week. ” … We can’t take the player’s names off (the replica cup), but I wish they’d take the guy’s — I won’t say his name — but I wish they’d have taken his name off.”
“The management of the ECHL has full knowledge of the situation with the Kelly Cup. We have made numerous attempts to return it. They have chosen to ignore our requests, therefore the Kelly Cup remains in Colorado. This is all that will be released regarding this matter,” team owner Martin Lind said in a prepared statement.
Both the league and its former team are reportedly at odds with regards to unpaid fees on the team’s part. It’s an odd situation that seems to have reached a stalemate. Earlier today Kelly released a statement through the league that essentially communicates that the league will NOT be pursuing the matter any further and will simply move forward without the original trophy.
Check it out:
As stated by ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly yesterday morning, the tradition of returning the Championship Trophy to the League was not honored by the Colorado Eagles. Despite a confirmed plan with Eagles’ management to return the Kelly Cup to the ECHL in December 2018, the arrangement was not fulfilled.
In reaction to this, the League created a new Kelly Cup, complete with the history of players, coaches, and staff that have earned ECHL Championships over the past 30 years, including the inscription of ‘Patrick J. Kelly’ on the Cup itself to honor the man that is the trophy’s namesake. This Cup represents the fourth Kelly Cup in ECHL history, with the older models enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
If the Colorado Eagles do intend to return the Kelly Cup, the ECHL welcomes its return so that it too may be a part of hockey history.
The ECHL looks forward to awarding the Kelly Cup and all that it represents for hockey to the Champion of the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals.