By Stu Hackel
A year after his death, Hall of Fame hockey writer, SI.com columnist and my friend Jim Kelley was honored on Tuesday in his hometown of Buffalo. A one-block section of Washington Street between the First Niagara Center (the Sabres’ arena) and The Buffalo News, his employer for more than three decades, was dedicated as Jim Kelley Way.
Kelley’s wife Susan (who with his daughters and grandchildren meant everything to him) and his father, Jim, Sr. (his role model as a hard-working family man) unveiled the street sign.
Here’s a column on the dedication by Jim’s former News colleague Bucky Gleason. In it, he wrote, “The Sabres and The News didn’t always make it easy on Kelley, and I guess the same could be said about him. His passion for the truth often made for busy crossroads with no stop signs and numerous left turns. It wasn’t always pretty or easy or safe or popular. But it was during the most trying moments that Kelley’s integrity, his conscience, forced him to stand up for what was right even when it meant standing alone.”
Here’s the post I wrote about Jim when he passed away. We knew each other a long time, we were both hockey lifers, and we were also co-workers a couple of times. We shared a lot of the same values and passions and, like Bucky Gleason and probably everyone else who ever encountered Jim, I was inspired by his adherence to principle and unwavering quest to get at the truth in work and in life. I still am.
I think about Jim every day when I open up a blank window on which to write these posts. And I miss him a lot.