The Passing Of Jim Kelley

I moved back to Toronto late in 2004. One of the side jobs I took on was helping a friend with some extra legal work and I was asked to work with Jim Kelley.

We used to meet at the Sports Cafe on St. Clair to talk about his career, what was important to him and what he wanted to do in his career. Jim was a nice guy, who loved to tell old war stories and in every session we had he wanted only thing, to be treated fairly.

While I wasn’t a big fan of his work of late in Toronto. I was however a fan of Jim Kelley the person. He was a good guy, who really loved hockey.

I feel badly for his family and his friends. I know that Bob Mccown was close to Jim and I offer him my condolences as well.

Perhaps Jim is sitting with Pat Burns talking about the latest leafs loss.




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November 30, 2010 9:49 pm

Ill agree with the part about his work in Toronto, but Ill always respect hi passion for hockey.


Ami Angelwings
November 30, 2010 10:34 pm

Oh my god 🙁 I went to just now to check on the Leaf game result and saw the news he died and it’s just so sad 🙁 First Pat Burns and now Jim 🙁 I was hoping so much he was getting better too since he was on PTS more and more and seemed very positive 🙁

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends…

Rest in peace Jim 🙁

December 1, 2010 12:46 am

I’m very sorry to hear this.

He certainly had a tremendous career. Came across like a good guy too.

Maybe its just hindsight, but his last appearance on PTS did sound kind of bittersweet.

Very sad.

December 1, 2010 1:20 am

I was also surprised to hear this news. I heard him on PTS quite a few times fairly recently and he sounded pretty lively.


December 1, 2010 1:34 am

That’s horrible news – I feel really sad. I always enjoyed listening to him. He seemed like a really good, really genuine person.

Rest in peace, Jim.

Mike S
Mike S
December 1, 2010 1:58 am

Very sad…………I knew he was fighting cancer but this still comes as a bit of a shock, especially since he apparently filed a column to the Sportsnet website just hours before his death.

No one can deny that he was a good hockey writer and was very passionate about sports…………I grew a bit tired of him towards the end of his long stint on 590 as McCown’s sidekick but I never lost respect for him.

It is a strange feeling when someone you listened to for hundreds of hours on the radio is now gone…………..I felt the same way when guys like Pat Marsden, Jim Hunt, and Tom Cheek passed away

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
December 1, 2010 7:51 am

I did not know this man, but it is a shame that he along with many many others are taken from this world way to early.

December 1, 2010 9:11 am

I was always a big fan of Jim’s work especially on PTS.he always told it as he saw it which sometimes affended people.But he did it in a way as not to be a shock jock but what was in his heart.I have alot of time for people like that.We often criticize athletes for being generic and when they do say something outside the box we jump all over them.Well Jim never had a problem going outside the box and i think that is why he was so respected among his peers.Well maybe not all but hey atleast he did it his way!

Chris F.
Chris F.
December 1, 2010 1:17 pm

When I heard the news last night I was pretty sad. It seemed like he was doing a bit better. It’s true that while on PTS he could get a bit longwinded but when he and Bobcat got in the groove on a subject it made for some very interesting radio.

I also admire that he worked hard at his craft right up until the very end and gave it his all. He will be missed.

R.I.P. Jim Kelley

December 2, 2010 12:02 am

Jim Kelley was a sweet man, in a sports world where sweet men are typically weeded out and destroyed, or just as often, corrupted into becoming contemptuous “ranters” who snark first and ask questions later.

In many ways, Jim was a throwback to an era where the game was still…something of a mystery. There was more magic and art to it. We didn’t look behind the curtain or, as I’ve heard Michael Grange put it, we didn’t know “how the sausage was made.” Hockey was a game, and games need storytellers. Jim was one of the finest.

Not because he was the most elegant writer; but precisely because he wasn’t. His writing was honest. It spoke to people, not at them. It was artful and emotional, but never vulgar and violent. I never met Jim Kelley, but I have a feeling the most painful thing you could say to him would be that his writing caused you to feel pain, or hurt, or small, or stupid, or weak. I doubt that anyone — ever — said that to him, though, because they would have been mistaking him for someone else.

I often felt sorry for Jim as I listened to him try and match the pace and culture of shock jock radio (we lament the arrival of Krystal, but really, he didn’t just drop out of the sky; he is the latest in a continuum of noise-before-communication sports radio that has happened over the last 10 years, and most markedly in the last 2-3). Jim wasn’t “built” for radio — at least not the way it exists now. He was built for communication. Sports radio is not about that anymore. It’s about polemics and ranting. It’s about getting “top of mind” at all costs, even if it means on-air rectal exams.

For those of you who only know his work from the Fan, I encourage you to read him instead. That was his territory. As I said, I don’t think he was the most elegant of sports writers (or even hockey writers). But there were none that I would consider more honest, or more emotionally intelligent.

The world is a slightly less graceful, and slightly more mean place, than it was yesterday. RIP Mr. Kelley, and thank you for injecting doses of humanity in your work. It mattered.

Raptors Devotee
December 2, 2010 6:12 am


I have to say, out of all the tributes to Jim in print and on the air that I have read/heard, none of them has resonated as strongly and passionately as yours.

One thing for sure that I can say without a doubt, that someone as classy as Jim would never have been a part of anything to do with Krystal, as he indeed is everything that Jim detests about what sports radio has unfortunately evolved to today.

His writing always came from the heart, and although I often disagreed with his viewpoints, you knew that not only was every word fact checked beforehand from multiple sources, but it was delivered in an honest and open way. RIP Jim, you will be missed.

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