ECHL: Atlantic City wins 2003 Kelly Cup

By Holly Gunning

The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies have captured the East Coast Hockey League’s top prize in just their second year of existence. Th Bullies beat the Columbia Inferno 3-1 on Wednesday in Atlantic Ciy, taking the best of seven series four games to one. Atlantic City and Columbia were the two top scoring teams in the regular season.

Forward Kevin Colley was named playoff MVP, having scored 13 goals in 17 games for Atlantic City in the playoffs. Colley is 24 years old and spent time with two AHL teams this year, the Worchester IceCats and the Syracuse Crunch. Bullies goaltender Scott Stirling allowed only seven goals in the five games of the series and was a strong candidate for MVP himself. Stirling played for both the Worchester IceCats and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL this season as well.

This marks a northward movement for the Kelly Cup. In 2002 it was won by South Carolina’s Greenville Grrrowl, an affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and of the AHL Chicago Wolves. Atlantic City is unaffiliated with either an AHL or an NHL team, but does loan players to the AHL on a less formal basis.

The Boardwalk Bullies were located in Birmingham, Alabama prior to their move to Atlantic City in 2001.

The ECHL is the largest developmental league in North America, with a large majority of the now 32 teams having AHL and NHL affiliations. The westward expansion of the league is causing the league to change its name, which will be announced this week.

Discuss the ECHL on the php?s=&forumid=63″> Hockey’s Future Message Boards.