Inducted November 3, 2007
Michael Kelly was a true Newfoundland athlete indeed. With his diverse athletic ability, Kelly was able to represent four sports in five locations: hockey in Bell Island, Harbour Grace, Buchans, and Gander; track and field in Bell Island; baseball in Buchans, Gander, and Grand Falls; and, soccer in Gander. However, it was in the sport of hockey that Mike really stood out, being amongst the outstanding hockey players of his era. Mike began his hockey career on Bell Island during the glory days of sports on the island. In the 1960’s, Kelly earned three Herder Memorial Trophies while playing with the Conception Bay CeeBees, the Buchans Miners, and the Gander Flyers. This made him the first player in Newfoundland senior hockey to win three Herder Memorial Trophy championships with three different teams. Mike also won three Newfoundland Senior Hockey League scoring championships. At a time when most centres relied on imports, Mike was one of only two Newfoundlanders to win the scoring championship during this period. Alex Faulkner was the other individual. In 1962, Mike was invited to the training camp of the Quebec Aces, which was at the time the number one farm club of the Montreal Canadiens. While at the camp, he was among the lead goal scorers, finishing second to former National Hockey League stars Bill Dineen and Danny Leiwicki. Mike was offered a pro contract but he elected to return to the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League with the Buchans Miners. In 1966, he was invited to try out with Canada’s National Hockey Team. However, because he was unable to secure a sponsor to pay his salary while playing with the team, he was unable to proceed further than the initial tryout camp. Mike’s career was finally capped in April 1983. As a member of the Gander Whitecoats Old-Timers team, he scored the winning goal in the final minute of the deciding game to win the CAN-AM Old-Timers Hockey Tournament in Lake Placid, New York. A survey of top Newfoundland hockey experts conducted in 1994 named Mike sixth among the top ten hockey players produced by Newfoundland. The Bell Island Sports Hall of Fame recognized his accomplishments by electing him as one of their first inductees in August 1995.
In 1999 Kelly was inducted into the Newfoundland Amateur Hockey Association Hall of Fame in the athlete category and in 2001 he was inducted into the Gander Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category.