Pete Weber, Antioch, Tenn.
Jim Kelley’s loss is a large one – for his family to be certain, but also for lovers of the game of hockey, those who appreciate great journalism, and for all of us who will miss him as a compassionate friend with a tremendous sense of humor.
Jim deserved to have an ego larger than that of Donald Trump; he had earned that right with all of his accomplishments over the years. Still, he carried himself as he truly was – someone who enjoyed what he was doing and wasn’t going to wait for any accolades. There was always another story to follow and another column in the works.
He had a difficult act to follow in Dick Johnston (who preceded him as a winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Award), but Jim raised the bar even higher. I will never forget the class he demonstrated during the playoffs of 1997, when he suddenly became a part of the story, simply for doing his job. How he maintained a sense of calm through that storm continues to amaze me to this day. Jim simply dug in and stayed on the story.
I am hoping his legacy can be honored some day by the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as well. Perhaps that body can honor the best in hockey journalism in this country with a “Jim Kelley Award.”