There’s some sad news for the hockey world tonight, as reports indicate that veteran columnist and Hall of Fame writer Jim Kelley died today after a long battle fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 61 years old.
Kelley is survived by his wife Susan and two daughters, Erin and Megan, as well as three grandchildren.
One bittersweet note: Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca said that he filed his last column at 1:30 a.m. today/last night. Now that’s an impressive example of the kind of work ethic that earns someone membership into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Kelley, a former contributor to msnbc.com, began his newspaper career when he was 17 years old and used it to work his way through college, according to his bio. He started covering hockey around the same time that legendary coach Scotty Bowman landed in Buffalo, describing the experience as a “baptism by fire.”
Kelley began covering the NHL in 1981 for The Buffalo News and went on to cover the Stanley Cup Finals for 23 straight years. In 2004, Kelley received the prestigious Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for honour in journalism and hockey. Later the same year he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Kelley was a broadcaster on all-sports radio station The Fan 590 and had been a columnist for sportsnet.ca for several years. On Tuesday he filed a column evaluating the two-year reign of Brian Burke in Toronto called ‘All part of the process’
It’s absolutely sad news to hear of Kelley’s passing, but it’s nice to see that he was honored for his work before he died. Our hearts go out to his family as they deal with this loss.
(Photo via Sportsnet.ca.)