|Debut:||October 10, 1970
(Philadelphia vs. Minnesota)
|Final NHL game:|| November 14, 1981
(Washington at Hartford)
|Stanley Cup:||1974, 1975|
|Numbers worn:||9 (Philadelphia);
Years: 1970-1981. Playoffs: 1971-1980
|Stanley Cup Playoffs|
|Complete statistics available at NHL.com|
Scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Roger Crozier during
Philadelphia's Nov. 8, 1970, game at Buffalo. ... Set Philadelphia record
(since tied) for fastest goal from the start of a period by scoring eight
seconds into the second period vs. Minnesota on March 12, 1972. ... Scored Stanley Cup-winning goal
just 19 seconds into the third period in Game 6 of 1975 Stanley Cup
Finals on May 27, 1975, at Buffalo. The goal gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead in game the Flyers went
on to win 2-0. Kelly had just been inserted onto the Flyers' top line with
Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach when he scored. Clarke set up the goal from
behind the net when he jumped in to break up a scrum between Kelly and
Sabres defenseman Jerry Korab. With Clarke in Korab's way, Kelly was freed
up to move to the front of the net and score. ... Played on Philadelphia team that lost to Montreal in 1976 Stanley Cup Finals. ...
Led Philadelphia with 19.8 scoring percentage in 1977-78. ... Played on Philadelphia team that set NHL record with 35-game unbeaten streak
from Oct. 14, 1979, to Jan. 6, 1980. ... Played on Philadelphia team that lost to N.Y. Islanders in 1980 Stanley Cup Finals. ...
Left Philadelphia in 1980 ranked fourth in franchise history for career
penalty minutes (1,285). ... Scored a career-high 26 goals and a career-high
62 points as a 30-year-old with Washington in 1980-81. ... Led Washington in
shooting percentage (21.1) in 1980-81. ... Played on Washington team that competed in Sweden's
1981 DN Cup tournament and had one goal in four tournament games.
On April 22, 1976, Kelly became part of the wider controversy surrounding
Philadelphia's first-round playoff series vs. Toronto when he was criminally
charged with assault for an incident that took place during Game 6 of the
Flyers-Maple Leafs series at Maple Leaf Gardens. A week prior, in Game 3 at
Toronto, Flyers teammates Don Saleski, Joe Watson, and Mel Bridgman had
engaged in an ugly incident with Toronto fans that led to criminal charges
against all three. The province of Ontario had vowed to crack down on hockey
violence and treat players the same way they would treat individuals who
assaulted others outside the rink. With tensions already high, Kelly added
to the drama during a game that featured an NHL playoff record of 185 total
penalty minutes -- 12 more than Game 3. The whole game was an ugly event,
and Philadelphia coach Fred Shero would later blame obnoxious Toronto fans
for inciting his team. Flyers players accused one fan of trying to injury
Philadelphia enforcer Dave Schultz with an elbow to the head as Schultz went
onto the ice. In the second period, following a fight on the ice, Schultz
also argued with fans while he was in the penalty box. This raised red flags
for his teammates, who recalled what had happened to Saleski when a fan
taunted him one week earlier. The Flyers players rushed over to the penalty
box to help Schultz deal with the fans, and
Kelly threw his glove toward a particularly hostile fan seated near the box. Unfortunately, the fan dodged the glove, and it ended up hitting Gardens usher Jan Brown, whose husband happened to be NHL linesman John Brown. On April 23, the fan who had been accused of elbowing Schultz was charged with assault, but Kelly was also charged with assault for hitting Jan Brown with his glove. On April 25, Kelly publicly apologized to Brown: "I threw the glove at somebody else, and she was hit." said Kelly. "I just want her to know that I'm very sorry about it. They have a film of me throwing it, but I didn't mean to hit her." The province of Ontario pressed ahead with its charges against Kelly, lumping the case in with the Saleski-Watson-Bridgman incident a week earlier. The case dragged on for months, and a two-day preliminary hearing was held in mid-October 1976, and a Nov. 8 trial date was set, even though Jan Brown had asked that charges against Kelly be dropped. Because of the NHL schedule, the Nov. 8 trial was postponed until June of 1977. The case never made it that far. On April 15, 1977, just a few hours before the start of Game 3 of a 1977 playoff series between the Flyers and Leafs, an Ontario judge announced that Kelly had pleaded guilty to assault and was fined $200 (in lieu of five days in jail). He also issued rulings related to the other three Flyers players. Incredibly, at the time of these rulings, the Maple Leafs led the playoff series 2-0. Once the case was closed, the Flyers went on to win the next four games, including Games 3 and 4 at Toronto, to take the series.
|100th Playoff Game:||May 22, 1980|
(Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Islanders)
Sept. 11, 1968 -- Traded by Toronto (OHA) with Rick Kessel, Tom Foxcroft, Chuck Gyles, and Bob Smith to Oshawa in exchange for Dale Tallon. May 23, 1972 -- Signed WHA contract (later voided due to August 1972 court ruling) with Chicago Cougars. Aug. 21, 1980 -- Traded by Philadelphia to Washington in exchange for future considerations (1982 third-round pick, Bill Campbell).
Kelly made headlines in May 1972 when he became one of the first players
to jump from the NHL to the WHA, and the first to sign with the rival
league's Chicago Cougars. On May 23, the Cougars announced that Kelly had
signed a contract with them for their inaugural 1972-73 season and was the
first player officially on their roster. However, the Philadelphia Flyers
immediately challenged the deal, saying he had already signed a 1972-73
contract with them earlier in the day before the Cougars' announcement. The
Cougars threatened to sue the Flyers over the issue. As it turned out, the
entire WHA deal had been orchestrated by a sports agent named Howard Casper,
who had enticed Flyers players Kelly, Bill Flett, Brent Hughes, and Dave
Schultz into jumping to the WHA as a negotiating ploy against the Flyers.
The four players had gone to Quebec City to meet with WHA owners, and while
they were there, they all agreed to sign WHA contracts. This led to a long
period of litigation that ended with an August 1972 ruling that the WHA
contracts were not valid. Kelly, however, benefited from the experience, as
he and the others were able to negotiate more lucrative deals with the
Flyers. Kelly's two-year deal was finalized in June 1972, two months before
the court ruling ended the WHA's bid to keep him and the others under
Missed remainder of 1974 playoffs, including entire 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, with partially torn ligaments in knee, an injury suffered when he was checked by Ron Harris during Game 3 of Philadelphia's Stanley Cup semifinal series at N.Y. Rangers on April 25, 1974.
Full Name: Robert James Kelly
Nicknames: "The Hound", "Hound", "Hound Dog", "The Mutt"
Front-Office Career: Worked as Philadelphia (Roller Hockey International) Vice President of Sales and Marketing from 1994 to 1996, when team folded. ... Named one of Philadelphia's full-time Ambassadors of Hockey prior to 2012-13 season and currently holds this position.
• Kelly on LinkedIn
Career Beyond Hockey: Returned to the Philadelphia area and went into the construction business after retirement, eventually owning a roller rink in his home city of Newark, Del. Also remained active in the Philadelphia Flyers alumni, appearing at many charitable functions on behalf of the team.
|Selected by Chicago Cougars in 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972.||Never played a game in the minor leagues, jumping from junior to NHL for next 11 years.||Played on line with Bobby Clarke for Philadelphia in both 1970-71 and 1971-72.||Was butt of an elaborate Flyers joke called the "snipe hunt" as a rookie in 1970-71 season.|
|Feared fighter and key member of Philadelphia's intimidating "Broad Street Bullies".||Played on line with Jean Pronovost and Dennis Maruk for Washington in 1980-81.||Was relegated to bench with Washington due to team's youth movement in 1981-82.||Had two-plus years left on his contract when he was bought out by Washington in 1981.|
|Worked in building demolition business during off-seasons of his early playing days.||Played on Philadelphia's off-season charity softball team during his days with Flyers.||Played for Flyers Alumni team in 2012 Winter Classic outdoor Alumni Gamein Philadelphia.||Works as instructor at Flyers-related youth hockey clinics as part of his ambassador role.|
|Won Stanley Cup:||12|
|Hall of Fame:||3|
|1970 PICKS BY TEAM|
OTHERS DRAFTED IN 1970