John Kelly spoke at SIUE today at an invite only event. (He is an SIUE alum.) I was there, along with maybe 30 others...including a writer for bleedinblue.com.
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He spoke about his life and how he got to where he is today. It was neat to hear him say he has no delusions about him getting breaks along the way because of who his father was. He did a pretty good job at hiding his emotions, but I could tell he got a little emotional when talking about his dad. He told a story of how his dad asked him to broadcast a game with him in Philly when Dan was in town doing the Blues broadcast and John was in town with the Rangers from the previous night as a backup to Marv Albert. That was the first and only time they did a game together. That was the last road game Dan Kelly ever did. He would broadcast one more home game and then passed away a few days later. Interesting note about that game in Philly that they did together...that was the first game the Blues had won there in 16 years. The last game they had won there before that night was the game where the Blues went into the stands and fought the fans in defense of a fan pouring a beer on head coach Al Arbour.
He had some good stories to tell about previous jobs...like his first real job broadcasting in Pratt, Kansas for the local Jr. College and High School. The radio station was on the outskirts of town and it was a small green shack in the middle of a corn field. One day he went in to open up and there was a man and a woman in there already. The woman was the secretary, but the man had a gun and it was pointed at Kelly as he walked in. The man and woman were having an affair and there were hiding from her husband who was looking for them.
He also had a funny story about Panger, who will grab the microphone on the bus and do some R-rated "sportscenter-like" sportscasting from that night's games. Someone needs to record those...I'd love to heat them.
I thought he was going to speak more to the aspiring broadcasting students at SIUE and what they had to do to get ahead in the business...which he did to some degree. But he talked a LOT about hockey and his broadcasting career...which was neat.
He feels the game is overcoached. Kelly said that Hitchcock subscribes to a service that tells him what the good and bad matchups were from the previous period...statistics-wise I guess. He gets that info inbetween each period. The guy who runs the service is a former NHL GM...but he didn't give a name.
He also feels the ice surface should have increased in size in the 80's & 90's when every team built new arenas.
He also answered a bunch of questions from students.
I enjoyed this...good stuff. Thought I'd share.