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Storm GM touts Northern hockey talent

By Randy Pascal, Northernlife.ca

Mike Kelly, vice-president and general manager of the Guelph Storm, has no problem acknowledging a soft spot for the north. Over the years, he’s had good reason.

Mike Kelly, vice-president and general manager of the Guelph Storm, has no problem acknowledging a soft spot for the north. Over the years, he’s had good reason.

“Hockey runs deep in this community,” he said shortly after addressing players and parents alike at the NOHA Program of Excellence Development Camp over the weekend. “I love coming here.”

“On a per-capita basis, I think hockey is more important in these northern communities than it would be in southern Ontario.”

Since his start with the Storm back in 1991, Kelly has seen a lot of hockey.
Scouting with the Calgary Flames, jumping back to the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires, travelling overseas to Europe with Hockey Club Alleghe in Italy, Kelly has watched the growth of the sport world wide.

Still, when it comes to drafting young talent for the junior ranks, he maintains that not all that much has changed.

“From a hockey standpoint, the players are probably a little stronger, a little more skilled,” he said.

“But quite frankly, when you get them in our office for the first time, they’re just as apt to be homesick, just as apt to have anxieties about school. I think the kids are basically the same as they were 25 years ago.”

When it comes to northern talent, Kelly has come full circle. In 1991, the Storm drafted Todd Bertuzzi with their first-round selection.

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