The 52-year-old Boston lawyer was formally introduced as the union's new executive director at a news conference Wednesday. Kelly replaces Ted Saskin, who was fired last May amid allegations he ordered the spying of NHLPA player e-mails in the midst of a player uprising against his leadership.
A five-player search committee got help from a Chicago search firm and interviewed a long list of candidates before recommending Kelly.
He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
Kelly was also involved in the investigation of former NHLPA leader Alan Eagleson.