WINDSOR — The ECHL needs its trophy again.

Martin Lind needs his a refund.

Neither facet goes to get its means. As an alternative, the Kelly Cup — the one the Colorado Eagles hoisted after successful the 2017 and 2018 ECHL championships — sat comfortably in its case final week on the places of work of Lind, a Northern Colorado businessman and the Eagles’.

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To Lind, the Cup held hostage is an $800,000 instance of fraud and the way the ECHL dishonored the sport of hockey.

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Touring hockey trophies are speculated to journey, however the ECHL first-year growth Newfoundland Growlers — who not directly changed the Eagles when Colorado joined the American Hockey League because the Avalanche’s high affiliate to start the 2018-19 season — hoisted a Kelly Cup duplicate after successful the league championship final week.

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Colorado Eagles team owner Martin Lind ...

Andy Cross, The Denver Publish

Colorado Eagles workforce proprietor Martin Lind at his workplace June 06, 2019.

Lind refuses to let his Kelly Cup go, accusing the ECHL of dishonest him out of as much as $800,000 for making an expansion-fee sale to Newfoundland as an alternative of permitting the groups to barter a switch payment. And since he’s not being sued by the ECHL and he can’t convey go well with to the league due to a signed authorized doc, Lind will hold the Cup for instance of his outrage with how he was handled within the Eagles’ seventh and ultimate yr within the “double-A” league.

“I might implore them to sue me. I might welcome it,” Lind informed The Denver Publish. “There couldn’t be a greater factor for me. I’m Brer Rabbit, please throw me in that Briar Patch. As a result of I can’t convey go well with due to the covenant I signed — like all of the members did — however I’m definitely entitled to counter-claims in the event that they sue me. So please, I encourage them to return sue me.”

Lind mentioned he didn’t need to go public along with his protest till former ECHL commissioner Patrick J. Kelly — whom the Kelly Cup is known as after — disclosed on radio in Toledo, Ohio, on Might 31, {that a} new Cup was made as a result of the Eagles refused to return the earlier one (which is definitely a 3rd of 4).

“They need to have stored their mouth shut,” mentioned Lind, who paid a $500,000 exit payment earlier than being denied a possibility to barter with Newfoundland. “Nobody would have ever identified the distinction. I might have been out (and never gone public).”

Lind mentioned his provide to return the Cup for a refund of his $500,000 exit payment was ignored.

ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin, Newfoundland chief working officer Glenn Stanford and Avalanche assistant normal supervisor Craig Billington had been every interviewed for this story.

Crelin, who took over as commissioner to start final season — the Eagles’ first within the AHL — mentioned he nonetheless has a great relationship with Lind.

“Yeah, aside from he gained’t reply to my emails,” Lind mentioned of Crelin. “My final e mail to him was 2018 — now a yr later — as a result of they wished the Cup again. These items all occurred in January of ’18. Low and behold we win the Cup once more. We did back-to-back (2017-18) and so they began wanting that Cup again, and it actually wasn’t that large of a deal apart from that legal professional for the league simply stored saying, ‘confer with paragraph blah, blah, blah, blah, blah as a result of you may’t sue us. So too dangerous.’

“That’s what he stored telling my legal professional. So I requested him, ‘Hey, can you discover the paragraph the place I’m required to return the Cup, Mr. Good(aleck)? Inform me the place I’m required.’ So Ryan says, ‘Martin, honor the sport!’ And I simply mentioned, ‘Don’t inform me about honor. I don’t even need to begin that dialog with the way in which I’ve been handled.”

The months in query.

The Eagles, Avalanche and AHL agreed to accomplice in the summertime of 2017, and Lind — who paid $300,000 for his ECHL franchise payment in 2011 — mentioned he despatched his $500,000 ECHL exit payment to the league on Sept. 20, 2017.

Whereas the Eagles started their ultimate ECHL season of 2017-18, Lind and the league had been searching for a substitute workforce for 2018-19 in corroborative vogue. In the event that they discovered an satisfactory new franchise, the brand new workforce would negotiate a switch payment with the Eagles. However Lind signed a authorized doc through which The Publish acquired, saying he had till Dec. 15, 2017 “to current an applicant for switch of controlling curiosity of its membership and switch to a brand new residence territory.”

In hindsight, Lind mentioned he shouldn’t have put a deadline on promoting his curiosity. However he claims Newfoundland’s curiosity in turning into that applicant was withheld from him, and in the end, his inquiries to the league had been ignored, the deadlines handed and Newfoundland paid a $1 million franchise payment to the ECHL. The Eagles acquired nothing out of the sale and Newfoundland was introduced as an growth workforce on March 13, 2018.

Crelin, who was the ECHL’s chief working officer on the time, mentioned in January 2018 that Newfoundland had no enviornment lease and was six months to a yr away from working. However in a Jan. eight e mail to then-ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna that was obtained by The Publish, Lind was livid that his mid-season packet forward of the Jan. 16 house owners assembly on the all-star recreation in Indianapolis had “software for an growth membership” on the agenda.

Lind mentioned he flew to Indianapolis for the assembly to confront the scenario however the merchandise was taken off the agenda. Lower than two months later, the growth workforce in St. John’s (Newfoundland) was introduced.

“They occurred to return into our league in March (2018) as a result of all of it acquired labored out. However that wasn’t the case in January, and all of the (Colorado) exit transition stuff occurred even earlier than the season began of 2017-18,” Crelin mentioned. “Every thing was by-the-book, bylaws signed. They’d a possibility to promote it, to switch it. I’m certain that they had some conversations however so far as I do know, nothing ever got here to fruition.”

Mentioned Lind: “I used to be by no means informed that Newfoundland was out there for the commodity that we had on the market. I used to be by no means afforded the chance to speak to a gaggle that wished in.”

Stanford, Newfoundland’s COO, mentioned he and his employees “had been definitely conscious” of Colorado’s pending departure from the ECHL earlier than they paid the $1 million growth payment to the league. Lind mentioned he would have began negotiations with Newfoundland at $800,000.

“We had been dealing immediately with the league workplace, simply following any protocols that they had,” Stanford mentioned. “That’s what we did. We took route from the league workplace and that’s the place we ended up.”

McKenna resigned Feb. 18, 2017, efficient on the finish of the 2017-18 season. Efforts by The Publish to succeed in McKenna had been unsuccessful.

Crelin maintains the ECHL did nothing unsuitable in accepting Newfoundland’s $1 million growth payment.

“Colorado exited our league, signed all of the paperwork, handled with respect and by the ebook per our bylaws,” he mentioned. “(Newfoundland) — they got here to the league saying they had been however they didn’t also have a place to play for six months to a yr … They did come to our league conferences in January (2018) — not with an software, not with a lease to play — simply searching for a longer-term view.”

The commissioner added that the ECHL isn’t suing to retrieve the Kelly Cup in Colorado as a result of it’s not value it.

“By the point all that shakes out, I might have introduced three (new) Kelly Cups,” Crelin mentioned. “It’s a disgrace however it’s what it’s.”

Colorado Eagles team owner Martin Lind ...

Andy Cross, The Denver Publish

Colorado Eagles workforce proprietor Martin Lind at his workplace June 06, 2019.

Colorado’s supporting solid.

The Avalanche helps Lind and the Eagles of their dispute with the ECHL. The Avs are solely answerable for player-personnel and different associated on-ice hockey choices with the Eagles, who personal the AHL franchise and lease the Budweiser Occasion Middle in Loveland from Larimer County.

“Martin has been open and clear along with his communications with us from the onset, and that dates again to the method of transitioning from the East Coast league to the American Hockey League,” Billington informed The Publish. “We acknowledge it’s a enterprise dispute with the ECHL and we perceive the parameters of it. And on the finish of the day, we’re a proud affiliate with the Eagles and Martin Lind. That gained’t change.”

Lind gained’t hold the Kelly Cup perpetually. He joked that eBay may very well be an possibility however he gained’t revenue from it.

“I’d like to present it again to them (ECHL) or the (Hockey) Corridor of Fame or one thing. However I believe they’ve some explaining to do to the trade,” Lind mentioned. “Honor and integrity mustn’t go away the sport on the dasher boards. It’s such an important recreation and such an important establishment and I truthfully can’t imagine they’ve achieved this to me, as a result of we had been a role-model citizen for them.”


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