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NHL legend Red Kelly might be best remembered as humble family man

As great as Leonard (Red) Kelly was as a hockey player – and he was one of the best, with eight Stanley Cup titles over an illustrious 20-year National Hockey League career – he will perhaps best be remembered for being a humble, devoted family man and a true gentleman.

The hockey legend, a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams in Detroit and another four in Toronto, died on 2nd May in Toronto. He was 91.

Kelly was a member of Holy Rosary Parish next to St Michael’s College School, the Toronto Catholic high school where he honed the hockey skills that would lead him to being enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969, just two years after hanging up his skates.

Mgr Robert Nusca, Holy Rosary parish priest, said he came to know Kelly over the past four years at the parish. He described him as a “real, real gentleman, a real kind man.” He recalled a man with a wonderful sense of humour and a warm smile, but a man who took his faith seriously.

“I was always impressed with this man of real faith,” said Mgr Nusca. “He was very devout.”

Kelly and his wife, Andra, were regular attendees at the Sunday 10am Mass at Holy Rosary, always arriving early and taking up their regular seats to pray before Mass, said Mgr Nusca.

“All the parishioners will certainly miss this wonderful man, a legendary hockey player, but a man of real faith,” the priest said.

Picture: Canadian hockey legend Red Kelly, a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams in Detroit and another four in Toronto, died on 2nd May 2019, in Toronto, aged 91. He is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy St. Michael’s College School).