Colorado Eagles owner Martin Lind dared the ECHL to begin legal proceedings to get the Kelly Cup back, telling the Denver Post: “I would implore them to sue me. I would welcome it. There couldn't be a better thing for me. I'm Brer Rabbit, please throw me in that Briar Patch. Because I can't bring suit because of the covenant I signed – like all the members did – but I'm certainly entitled to counterclaims if they sue me. So please, I beg them to come sue me.”
The Eagles didn't return the Cup after winning it in 2018; the expansion Newfoundland Growlers hoisted a replacement Cup this year.
Lind, who paid $300,000 to enter the ECHL in 2011, said he paid another $500,000 in exit fees when the Eagles moved to the American Hockey League.
He told the Post that he should have been given the opportunity to negotiate a purchase of his ECHL membership to the Growlers, who paid $1 million in franchise fees to the ECHL, and that he would have sold that membership for $800,000.
“I was never told that Newfoundland was in the market for the commodity that we had for sale. I was never afforded the opportunity to talk to a group that wanted in,” Lind said.
Both Lind and the ECHL released public statements. In one, Lind said he'd made numerous attempts to return the Cup, while the ECHL stated the Eagles had breached the “tradition of returning the championship trophy to the league.”
– Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette