Monday, December 06, 2010

A great hockey writer, but an even better hockey fan!

The hockey world certainly won't mind putting the month of November in our rear view mirrors, it was a most sad month when it came to saying good bye to popular personalities.

Short days after we bid farewell to Pat Burns, the hockey world stopped to acknowledge the life and career of Jim Kelley, the Buffalo based writer and broadcaster who never wavered from his opinions but  provided for a wealth of memories over a lengthy career covering the sport he showed such passion for.

Mr. Kelley passed away last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer, dedicated professional that he was he worked almost until his very last hours it seems, filing a story for Sportsnet mere hours before his admission to hospital and his passing.

His career began as a writer for the Buffalo News, taking on the hockey beat and making it his home, bringing his sharp eye and attention to prose together to provide some of the finest in hockey reporting on either side of the border.

From the printed word of Buffalo's traditional media, Kelley moved on to the world of the Internet, a pioneer of sorts ahead of his time when it came to delivering the news of the hockey world to an eager audience always looking for more.

Over the last few years he became even better known to Canadians with frequent appearances as co-host on Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 and Sportsnet, his week long stints a signal to hockey fans to pull up a chair and gain insight into the game that few have the knack to pull off.

The Prime Time Sports program with Bob McCown features a number of participants who ebb and flow through the programming schedule, however along with Stephen Brunt, the appearances made by Kelley always proved to be among the most entertaining of hours that the program provides, his give and take with the host the kind of chemistry that is hard to fake, the debates, the sidebar commentaries all part of what he brought to the table and shared with the audience.

Whether it was from his written word or his radio and television work, every session provided the kind of atmosphere for the reader or listener and viewer of being in their favourite watering hole just spinning yarns about a favourite sport.  A good friend and some good conversation all making for a pretty great combination.

It's a testimony to his talent and the reverence that those who worked with him over the years had that the last week has provided for a large number of tribute pieces about his work and his life.

Some of them can be found below.

Globe and Mail-- Remembering Jim Kelley
Globe and Mail-- Jim Kelley: Great pro, great man
USA Today-- Hockey loses important voice with death of Jim Kelley
Bufalo News-- For Kelley the beat went on and on
Buffalo News-- Time spent with Kelly was a master class
Buffalo News-- Hockey world pays tribute to Hall of Fame columnist
WGR 550-- Schopp: Kelley was a great friend
WGR 550-- Simon: Remembering Jim Kelley
Montreal Gazette-- Cancer claims longtime hockey columnist Kelley
Toronto Sun-- You will be missed, Jim Kelley Kelley loses battle with cancer

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