The ECHL claims the Colorado Eagles, who won the championship last June, haven’t given back the Kelly Cup.
Patrick Kelly, the former ECHL commissioner and the trophy’s namesake, said during an appearance on sports radio show Friday that the league had to make a replica Cup because the team refused to give back the original. The trophy has been awarded to the ECHL champion since 1997.
“I don’t know if I should say this or not, but Colorado kept the trophy, if you can believe it,” Kelly said (per ESPN). “They still have it. This is a new trophy. They won the Cup two years in a row, and their owner just said, ‘We’re going to keep it.'”
The ECHL released a statement Saturday explained the league’s predicament:
“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.”
While the Kelly Cup is still in Colorado, Eagles owner Martin Lind denies that his team refused to give back the trophy.
He released a statement in response to the claim: “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.”
Kelly said he didn’t think the league tried to litigate the matter.
“I’ve never heard of this in the history of hockey,” Kelly said.