Jack Kelley (ice hockey)

John Henry Kelley (July 10, 1927 – September 16, 2020[1]) was an American ice hockey coach and a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Kelley was the first general manager and head coach of the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association (WHA). During the 1972-73 season, he won the Howard Baldwin Trophy as the WHA coach of the year, and also led the Whalers to the Avco World Trophy. He previously served as head coach at Boston University, leading the Terriers to back-to-back NCAA hockey championships in 1971 and 1972. In his 10 year coaching career at Boston U (1962–71), he compiled a .720 winning percentage and won six Beanpot Tournaments.

Jack Kelley
Biographical details
Born(1927-07-10)July 10, 1927
Medford, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 16, 2020(2020-09-16) (aged 93)
Oakland, Maine
Playing career
1948–1949US National Team
1949–1952Boston University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1955–1962Colby College
1962–1972Boston University
1972–1973New England Whalers
1972–1975New England Whalers (General Manager)
1975New England Whalers
1976–1977Colby College
1977–1981New England Whalers (General Manager)
1982–1993Adirondack Red Wings (Dir. of Player Personnel)
1993–2001Pittsburgh Penguins (President)
Head coaching record
Overall303-147-12 (.669)
Tournaments5–3 (.625)
Accomplishments and honors
1962 ECAC Hockey Champion
1965 ECAC Hockey Champion
1967 ECAC Hockey Champion
1971 ECAC Hockey Champion
1971 NCAA National Championship
1972 ECAC Hockey Tournament Champion
1972 NCAA National Championship
1962 Spencer Penrose Award
1973 Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame
1993 US Hockey Hall of Fame
2010 World Hockey Association Hall of Fame

Kelley, who was born in Medford, Massachusetts, also played his college hockey at Boston U, participating in the NCAA Hockey Tournament in 1951 and 1952. At the time of his graduation, he was the school's all time leading scorer among defensemen. He then took over as coach at Colby College in 1955. After leaving the Whalers, he later worked in the front offices of the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. His son is writer and producer, David E. Kelley.[citation needed]


In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame in the coaching category.[2]

Head coaching recordEdit


Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Colby Mules (Independent) (1955–1961)
1955–56 Colby College
1956–57 Colby College
1957–58 Colby College
1958–59 Colby College
1959–60 Colby College
1960–61 Colby College
Colby College: 73-45-3
Colby Mules (ECAC Hockey) (1961–1962)
1961–62 Colby College 19-6-2 17-1-1 1st ECAC Third Place Game (Loss)
Colby College: 19-6-2 17-1-1
Boston University Terriers (ECAC Hockey) (1962–1972)
1962–63 Boston University 7-16-0 7-15-0 22nd
1963–64 Boston University 9-13-0 9-12-0 20th
1964–65 Boston University 25-6-0 15-3-0 1st ECAC Third Place Game (Win)
1965–66 Boston University 27-8-0 17-2-0 2nd NCAA Consolation Game (Loss)
1966–67 Boston University 25-5-1 19-0-1 1st NCAA Runner-Up
1967–68 Boston University 20-9-3 13-6-2 5th ECAC Third Place Game (Loss)
1968–69 Boston University 19-10-1 13-8-0 6th ECAC Third Place Game (Loss)
1969–70 Boston University 20-7-0 17-5-0 3rd ECAC Third Place Game (Win)
1970–71 Boston University 28-2-1 18-1-1 1st NCAA National Champion
1971–72 Boston University 26-4-1 15-4-1 3rd NCAA National Champion
Boston University: 206-80-7 143-56-5
Colby Mules (NESCAC) (1977–1978)
1977–78 Colby College 5-16-0
Colby College: 5-16-0
Total: 303-147-12

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion



Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
New England Whalers 1972–73 78 46 10 2 94 1st in East Won Avco Cup
New England Whalers 1974–75 5 3 2 0 (91) 1st in East Lost in Quarterfinals
New England Whalers 1975–76 33 14 16 3 (73) 3rd in East (Resigned)
WHA Total 116 63 48 5


  1. ^ The Passing of Legendary Hockey Coach Jack Kelley
  2. ^ "WHA Hall of Fame Members". Archived from the original on 2019-01-15. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
  3. ^ "2008-09 ECAC Hockey Media Guide". ECAC Hockey. Retrieved 2014-07-11.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Position created
Ron Ryan
General Manager of the New England/Hartford Whalers
Succeeded by
Ron Ryan
Larry Pleau
Preceded by
Position created
Ron Ryan
Head coach of the New England Whalers
Succeeded by
Ron Ryan
Don Blackburn
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Murray Armstrong
Spencer Penrose Award
Succeeded by
Tony Frasca