If you’ve ever been downtown on a Friday night from November to April, then you know how much of the action is centralized around the Sleeman Centre. The Guelph Storm have been a local institution since their inaugural season in 1994, a Friday night beacon for Royal City hockey fans, so in honour of all that, we’ll talk to the man who turned the Dukes of Hamilton into Guelph’s team.
Mike Kelly became the first general manager of the Guelph Storm in 1991, and by the 1994-95 season the team finished first in the OHL, which was an accomplishment that won him the distinction of being voted the OHL Executive of the Year. Two years later, the Storm made it to their first ever Memorial Cup though they ended up losing the OHL Championship. The Peterborough Petes won that year, but they were also hosting the Cup.
Kelly moved on from the Storm in 1997 for different gigs in the OHL, and overseas with the Alleghe Hockey Club in Italy, but he came back to Guelph in 2010 where he helped lead the team to one more OHL championship and Memorial Cup appearance in 2014. He retired from hockey completely in 2017 but he took to the ice at the Sleeman Centre last month to be honoured after the announcement that we was joining the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame with four other local sports legends.
But for our purposes, we’re focusing on Kelly, who talks to us about how it feels to end up in his second Hall of Fame, and how his two loves, hockey and education, informed everything he’s done in his career. He will also talk about his best day as the Storm’s general manager, and the worst day. Plus, did he know which Storm players would go on to have a future in hockey, and how did he manage it when it turns out they didn’t? Also, does he still follow the Storm in retirement?
So let’s talk about local hockey history on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
The 2023 Guelph Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Kiwanis Sports Celebrity Dinner is tonight, Wednesday May 17, at the Italian Canadian Club. All of this year’s inductees will then be immortalized on the wall at the Sleeman Centre with all current members of the Hall of Fame, and you can learn more about the Hall here. The Guelph Storm are done for the season, but you can stay connected to the team at their website.
The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, TuneIn and Spotify .
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo courtesy of the Guelph Storm.