For his decades of service to the minor hockey community in the Newmarket area, Kirk Kelly has been named the recipient of the 2023 OMHA Honour Award.
The Honour Award was established to recognize a person who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to minor hockey for a considerable period of time. Kelly has dedicated a lifetime of volunteering to hockey and has exemplified outstanding voluntary contribution to minor hockey. His contributions have come in the form of coaching and executive leadership.
He began volunteering in 1988 as a coach, and continued in various positions for over 30 years with the Newmarket Minor Hockey Association. From Coach Mentor, Hockey Development Lead, Coach-At-Large, Trainer-At-Large, Vice President of House League, and Interim President, Kelly molded the Association through his countless hours of volunteering.
Kelly provided both quality and quantity when it came to his dedication, spending hours on end each week in the arenas over his roles. A leader by example, he made it a point to get to know players, parents and coaches in the Newmarket hockey world.
“I looked up to him and liked how he treated people and how he was able to get players to not only be good hockey players but good people in the community,” said Joe Wilson, the former Vice President of House League for Newmarket Minor Hockey.
“He was a force. He showed up at rinks all the time. Everyone knew him, parents and kids alike, and everyone respected him and his opinion,” said Murray Taylor, former President of Newmarket Minor Hockey.
His commitment to minor hockey was for no other reason than the love of the game. He not only developed hockey players but he also developed wonderful community members. Kelly’s volunteerism also saw him involved with the Newmarket Valley View Alliance Church, the Ontario Renal Network, Humber River Hospital and York Regional Police. In 2019 Mr. Kelly was an Honouree of Portraits of Giving, which recognized his many years of service to the Newmarket community.
For as many hours as he spent volunteering, Kelly was also a devoted husband and father. Kelly married Linda Kelly in 1974 and went on to have two wonderful children (Martin and Laura Lynn). He unfortunately had his own share of health issues including three kidney transplants. Although he was fighting his own health battles Kelly always stayed positive and continued to be involved in minor hockey. Sadly, Kelly passed away in March 2020.
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